18 January 2021 Pastor Rick: Gutsy Prayer
by Pastor Rick Henderson
Last week I asked that everyone in our church set aside a daily time to pray for our nation. Since the inauguration is on January 20th, at 1:20pm each day my phone alarm sounds to remind me to pray. I find myself asking God for three things:
- Provide law enforcement with all they need to prevent violence before it starts.
- Turn down the anger and animosity in people’s hearts.
- Give influence to men and women who can provide moral leadership to our elected officials.
I don’t mean to imply insult with this last prayer request. In times of uncertainty and fear, we need leaders to look beyond the immediate. We need leaders who can see reality with a wide-angle lens. We need leaders who can connect the dots between today’s choices and tomorrow’s outcomes. Not only do we need leaders who can see, we need leaders who then act in the best interest of others over self.
The task of leadership is monumental. The weight carried by our government officials is no small thing. It’s the kind of leadership that marries moral clarity with courage. That is why C.S. Lewis said, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
We put a great weight on our leaders. It is the right burden, and it is a heavy burden. This is one of the reasons why we are directed to pray for them.
1 Timothy 2:1-4,8 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth… Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
It’s interesting to note that Paul expects, “thanksgiving be made for all people” in the same context as praying for, “kings and all those in authority.” The very people who would eventually take Paul’s head are the very ones he says to pray for, and with gratitude! Is this insanity? No! It is the Gospel with guts.
It takes guts, Gospel-saturated courage, to pray in this way. Since we’re in need of our leaders to lead with courage. Let’s join them by praying with courage as well. As you pray, don’t forget the good news. Our prayers are not dependent upon the strength of our faith, but in the strength of the one in whom we have faith.
The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able. –Martin Luther King, Jr.