Humble: It’s time to humble ourselves and pray

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior …” (1 Timothy 2:1-3 NLT)

As we begin the new year, Christian citizens will gather this Saturday to pray for our community in the spirit of this exhortation which the apostle Paul gave to his spiritual son Timothy,

This annual community prayer service was begun a number of years ago by our mayor and county judge executive, not as a function of civil government, but in humble acknowledgment that God is ultimately the one on whom we depend for leadership, guidance, help, peace and security.

Therefore, at this gathering we pray specifically for all those who serve our community in government, in law enforcement, in emergency services, in the military, in medical care, in service agencies, in training our children and as volunteers.

Prayer is both a privilege and a responsibility given to humans by our Creator. God created us in his own image and likeness and made us responsible to care for the Earth as his representatives (Genesis 1:26-28).

Adam’s sin and the fall did not nullify that God-given vocation. The fall, however, cut off our free communication and fellowship with God and we became inadequate to fulfill except by God’s redeeming grace.

When God began to unfold his redemptive purpose and plan for the nations of Earth through Abraham and his descendants, the people of Israel, God restated the original human calling at Mt. Sinai: “… if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’” (Exodus 19:5-6 NLT)

God rescued them from slavery in Egypt to be the representatives of his kingdom (of his government) and to be a priestly people for the nations.

The nation of Israel, like Adam, failed, but through the prophet Isaiah, God revealed that one from Israel would be shaped from the womb to be God’s servant.

To this servant God said, “Not only will you restore to greatness the people of Israel who have survived, but I will also make you a light to the nations — so that all the world may be saved” (Isaiah 49:6 GNB)

In due time, Jesus was born. He is not only the great teacher and prophet but, he is the high priest who offered himself as the sacrifice for the life of the world. He raised from death to the throne of the universe to reign as king above all other authorities. It is Jesus to whom the Father said, according to the prophet David, “Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession” (Psalm 2:8 NLT).

But Jesus does not work alone. We who entrust our lives to him are made members of his body, the church. We become his co-workers. As Israel was called to be a kingdom of priests under the Old Covenant, so in Christ under the New Covenant we have been made “a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)

Yes, it is our duty, our calling, as God’s people to pray. But it is also our privilege.

Since Jesus, the high priest opened the way for us, we may “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)

Our troubled world desperately needs God’s priestly people to come and seek his grace for ourselves, our families, our community, our nation and the whole world.

I began with Paul’s exhortation to pray. A few verses later, Paul gave us another vital instruction: “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy” (1 Timothy 2:8 NLT).

To pray effectively we must repent and turn from fussing and feuding with one another. Sadly, that’s a word that many of us need to hear these days!

You are invited. Prepare your heart and join in Spirit-led, earnest prayer for our community at the gathering to be held 10 a.m. Saturday at Grace Baptist, 5990 Lexington Road.

Steve Humble serves as an elder at Winchester Covenant Church. He can be reached at 771-7138 or by email at steve.g.humble@gmail.com .