I grew up on a healthy dose of ’90s country and alternative rock, classic rock, the local Christian radio station, and the Lloyd Hymnal.
Often, when I’m tired or working or dreaming – or simply going about my daily business, one of those old songs or hymns will come drifting into my consciousness and I’ll start humming the tune and tapping my toes to whatever beat that plays. Songs from CCR and Rich Mullins, Brooks and Dunn and Alanis Morisette constantly fill my head at work and home. But lately, a particular hymn has been dominating my mind these past few weeks.
“Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of cares,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Makes all my wants and wishes known.”
The theme of prayer is one to which I often return. And this hymn about prayer reminds me of the privilege it truly is to even pray. Praying “calls me from a world of care,” because I am, as Peter declares, casting “all my anxieties on him, because he cares for me.” Prayer reminds me of the God I worship and reorders my thoughts and heart to focus not so much on the ways and worries of the world, but rather to consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
With the theme of prayer, this prayer in specific has been on my mind during my times of “sweet hour of prayer.”
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Scattered amongst the signs for Biden and Harris, and Trump and Pence, along my drive into work stands a few small signs that simply read, “2020: Pray for America.”
That’s what I’ve been reflecting on as I read that passage in 1 Timothy 2.
I am writing this on Monday evening, not knowing who will take the podium, standing in victory in this presidential election.
No matter who stands there, my posture, according to Paul, is to be the same: prayer.
Paul’s words don’t tell us only to pray for the person they wanted to win. No Christian can say “not my president” and think God will allow them a pass if they don’t want to pray for them. Paul called Christians to pray for all people, kings, and any who are in high places. That leaves none out.
How much different would we look in the world’s eyes if, no matter who sits in the oval office, we pledged to pray for that person, asking the Lord to give them wisdom and insight, to rule in justice and mercy, and to be humble in all of his or her decisions?
Throughout the years Christians have been able to live and thrice in nearly every form of government under the sun. We can do this because first, we are called to pray for whomever sits in the seat of power on earth, and second, we serve a king and hold citizenship to a kingdom not of this world. We are dual citizens on this earth, waiting on our eternal home.
Last Sunday I was called on to deliver the prayer of supplication during our corporate worship service at C3. I’d like to end the column with a portion of that prayer.
“Lord, we pray that the hope of the gospel of Christ would fill our hearts and sustain us through this and any other situation you bring us through.
“We pray that in a nation and world divided by politics and so many different things, that people would see your church and the true unity found in C3 and in all true churches, unified in Christ, and give glory to God.
“Please, make us always ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us. We ask that we would live such lives that people would notice a difference, that Christ likeness within us in our words and deeds, and as us about that hope.
“We pray that you would sustain us from finding our hope in government and presidents rather than in Christ Jesus our Lord. You will never stop reigning no matter who takes control in this nation. We pray our hope and trust and faith in you would not rise and fall with the whims and ways of this world.
“We pray, Lord, that the knowledge of your kingship would not play second fiddle to the music the world would have us move to. We dance to the tune of a different song and sing the song of salvation in Christ alone.
“Lord, you created us and sustain us. Please continue to sustain us for the rest of our days. As Augustine wrote, we are longing for a home we have never yet been to, so please, Lord, guide us home.
Joseph Hamrick is a semi-professional writer and sometimes thinker. He lives in Commerce and serves as a deacon at Commerce Community Church (C3).
He can be reached email@example.com