Wesley Word – September 14, 2022
To go along with service on: Sunday, September 18th
- Traditional Hymn: #545 The Church’s One Foundation
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Pray for Everyone
During September, we will have stand-alone sermons, not a series, based on the lectionary readings. In October, we are going to be in a series called Promises talking about our membership vows of Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness. That series will end on All Saints’ Sunday, November 6th. Our annual stewardship campaign will also be tied into the Promises series.
We are still in the first letter of Paul to his young pastoral protege, Timothy. Paul says that he wants Timothy to tell the believers to pray for all people and especially for all those who are in authority.
We all know that we should be praying for our leaders, but that is sometimes difficult for us in this time of increasing political division. It may help to realize that Paul is telling the believers to pray for none other than Emperor Nero, and the other leaders of the Roman Empire, who were actively persecuting Christians and trying to destroy the Church. If the early Christians could pray for the Emperor, (he problem was that they were willing to pray for the Emperor, but not to the Emperor) then we can surely pray for leaders who happen to be from the other political party than us.
Paul says that there are two reasons that we should pray for our leaders. First, so that we can live in peace and live holy lives. Second, so that all people, including the leaders we do not like, might be saved.
Praying for our leaders has a long tradition in Christian worship. In the Church of England, a prayer for the King or Queen and one for the Royal Family is included in Morning and Evening Prayer every day, as well as in Sunday worship. In honor of Queen Elizabeth’s death and the ascension of King Charles, I am including here, and in my sermon on Sunday, a prayer for the King from the Church of England as well as a prayer for our leaders from the Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church.
O Lord our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; most heartily we beseech thee with thy favor to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lord, King Charles; and so replenish him with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that he may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way: endue him plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant him in health and wealth long to live; strengthen him that he may vanquish and overcome all his enemies; and finally, after this life, he may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (The Church of England)
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to Joe, the President of the United States, Kim, the Governor of Iowa, Brad the Mayor of Muscatine, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. (The Episcopal Church)
New Testament in a Year: https://wesleyonline.org/biblereading/
- September 14 Galatians 1:1-24
- September 15 Galatians 2:1-16
- September 16 Galatians 2:17-3:9
- September 17 Galatians 3:10-22
- September 18 Galatians 3:23-4:31
- September 19 Galatians 5:1-12
- September 20 Galatians 5:13-26
- September 21 Galatians 6:1-18
Expressing Love: Family/Mission Activity
You, like me, at times might struggle with praying for someone you don’t like. We’re human and flawed, after all.
The only perfect person on earth died on the cross for yours and my sins and yet, Jesus asked for forgiveness for His enemies. And, He told us we must pray for our enemies. It’s right there in black and white. Jesus didn’t say “maybe you should,” or “sometimes I want you to …” No, Jesus said to do it. There’s no mistaking it.
It blows my mind. The unmerited grace of our Lord towards His persecutors both touches and confounds me.
When Paul wrote the words to Timothy about praying for those in authority, the Christians were under severe persecution from Roman emperors. Praying for someone who wants to burn you at the stake or feed you to lions would be the last thing on our list if we listened to our emotions.
For centuries, governments all over the world have fallen into unholy hands. People have died under the rule of dictators and despots. Ungodly policies are still put in force that aim to silence Christian voices. Praying for these leaders to have their eyes opened to the truth shows them that we serve a different God than they do. Reacting in violence against legislation we disagree with only drags us down into the same way of thinking as those who oppose us.
Take out a newspaper (if you still have them) or a digital device that has news on it. Look at all the not so good things happening around the world. Look at each thing and pray: “Dear God, We don’t understand all that is going on in the world today, so we turn to you in prayer. Let the Holy Spirit help comfort each of these people, so they may yet know forgiveness in their life. In Jesus name, Amen.”
“Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.” – Her Majesty the Queen (1926-2022)
- Wesley Family Hour – Doughnuts are back! Join us in fellowship hall between the 9am and 11am Sunday services. We will have doughnuts and coffee and other goodies and an opportunity for fellowship and conversation.
- WOW (Wesley on Wednesdays) begins this evening, September 14th, at 6:00 pm. The evening will start with fellowship, dessert and refreshments, followed by a small devotion on CS Lewis’s writings, and study groups and programming for all.