A message for the week starting on Sunday 18 September 2022
Lectionary Week: 15th Sunday After Pentecost
Prescribed Texts: Jeremiah 8:18 – 9:1, Psalms 79:1-9, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13
Prayer That Goes Further Than Yourself
Focus Text: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
We are called to pray for all those who are in leadership positions. But often we are not in agreement with their policies and the way they rule though. It does mean therefore that we must look outside of ourselves and our ideologies. We must pray for them even when we are not in agreement with them. This call is not to pray just because we agree with them, we must pray for them as the Scriptures instruct us to.
Now, it doesn’t come easy when we have to pray for kings, queens or in our case, the president and other leaders and ministers. Sometimes, we even have to pray for our managers, community leaders and pastors. However, when we do pray for those leading our country and our provinces, the Bible says we will benefit. The Holy Spirit can guide them, the decisions that they make, to benefit our lives. Though we feel frustrated by the decisions they make, through our prayers for them, God can turn those decisions they make to benefit us. The benefits are that we can live a peaceful life, we can live quiet lives, godly and dignified. In so many areas of the world we have become accustomed to undignified rule that breathes corruption. We then complain, yet Scripture goes against societal norms and calls us to prayer.
This text also encourages us to pray with thanksgiving – it means that we have to thank the Lord for our leadership and when we do, to give thanks. It makes us feel different, yet it also gives us a grateful heart towards what they are doing and it takes away from the fact that we just want to complain, be miserable and be frustrated by what they do. When we do give thanks, we can also thank God for what they have achieved in our lives; we have a democracy, we can love freely, we can serve our God with no interference, we can preach the gospel, have freedom of choice and through our constitution, we have laws that protect us.
When we look at these verses, it talks about thanksgiving and pleasing in the sight of God. We can deduct that when we pray for leaders, it is in one sense obedience, but even more so, worship to God. Therefore, when we do not pray for our leaders in this manner, we miss out on an opportunity of worship.
To think about: Do we include praying for our leaders as part of our liturgy and worship? If not, the question needs to be asked, “why not?” We have a culture of complaining instead of just praying to God, but even more so, why don’t we take a step further and prayerfully roll up our sleeves and become part of the solution?
Written by: Ms Mildrett Stevens, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator