“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.”
Notice the very first word in this verse: I. I want. This is coming from a man, but it’s not a typical man’s desire ~ it’s God’s desire. It just goes to show that if you are totally enveloped in God and you work to build a relationship with Him, His desires will become your own, and you will have a similar heart and mindset. With GOD. Is there anything cooler than that?
Paul had such a heart for all people, even those who persecuted him, and so he says he wants “men EVERYWHERE,” despite their past or their race, to praise God. To “lift up holy hands” indicates pure worship, blamelessly, fearlessly praising God, and that is pleasing to Him.
Prayer, as we have briefly talked about before, is honoring, worshiping, and speaking to God. It’s the world’s greatest wireless connection ~ if you love someone, if you’re worried about someone, or if someone is just on your mind, praying for them will strengthen your relationship with that person even if they’re miles away. Prayer is placing trust in God and building a relationship with Him by building your faith ~ which, as previously discussed, when matched with a pure heart and a good conscience, produces love, which is to be like Jesus, and that is our calling as Christians and as humans. But in this verse, you have to wonder: prayer for whom, or for what?
Then Paul specifically says to worship and pray “without anger or disputing.” His tone indicates that there was anger and disputing among believers, even way back then. The anger was most likely ~ almost certainly ~ directed at each other. Perhaps they were arguing about how the worshiping was being done. But we have the same problems among Christians today. Is there no improvement in the church?
The thing I think needs to be taken away from this verse is that all God wants is for us to praise Him, not to argue amongst ourselves about how it should be done, because that’s not the important thing ~ worshiping God is.