Prayer Chain I

“What is Prayer? Prayer is talking to God about what we are doing together. Prayer is a way of engaging with God in bringing something to pass.” – Dallas Willard

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ALMIGHTY God, whose kingdom is everlasting and power infinite; Have mercy upon this whole land; and so rule the hearts of thy servants: The United States Government, Local Municipalities, and all others in authority, that they, knowing whose ministers they are, may above all things seek thy honor and glory; and that we and all the People, duly considering whose authority they bear, may faithfully and obediently honor them, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns forever, one God, world without end. Amen.[1]

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift; Send down upon our leadership, Staffers, and other volunteers upon which society is committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and, that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.[2]

Especially: The President of the United States, the Governors of each state within the union, the state and federal Senators, congressmen/women of these United States, local officials and dignitaries, city and township leaders, local clergy, church laity, and all members of leadership in the community that are given authority by God to govern, lead, and mentor our communities.

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Weekly Scripture

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV) [3]

Commentary:

“The first exhortation in v. 16 might well have seemed counter-intuitive. What did persecuted and pressured Christians to have to rejoice about, and how could they be expected to rejoice constantly? This injunction to rejoice is not uncommon in Paul’s letters (see especially Phil. 2:18; 3:1; 4:4). He is not asking his converts to rejoice because of their circumstances but rather to rejoice in the Lord (see Phil. 4:4; Rom. 14:17). Joy is not caused by circumstances but has to do with one’s relationship with God and the adoration and praise and sheer joy that arises out of that communion with God. It is no accident that the exhortation to rejoice is coupled with the one to pray. Adoration results in joy in the Lord and prompts further prayer.

But how is it possible to pray constantly, as v. 17 urges (cf. Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18)? “It is not in the moving of the lips, but in the elevation of the heart to God that the essence of prayer consists. Thus amidst the commonest of duties and recreations of life, it is still possible to be engaged in prayer. And in this sense, the command to pray without ceasing must receive its noblest and most real fulfillment.… It is in the Spirit alone that it is possible to ‘pray without ceasing.’ ” Since Paul goes on to speak of thanksgiving, we may assume that he is referring to petitionary and intercessory prayer here.7 Thus we have here a discourse in miniature about the three major forms of prayer—adoration, petition, and thanksgiving.

18 says that they should give thanks, not for all circumstances but “in all circumstances,” which is a very different matter (cf. Col. 3:17; Eph. 5:20). Or it is possible that Paul means that they are to find ways to give thanks in every aspect of life and in every age and stage of life. Whether it means in all circumstances or at all times it makes little difference since the result is the same. “No matter what the circumstances (persecution, sickness, etc.) the Christian ought to be able to give thanks to God, not of course for the difficult circumstances but for his salvation through Christ, and when he is able to do this then he also is strengthened to endure what is difficult.”9 It is probable that “for this is the will of God …” refers to all three forms of praying just mentioned.”[4]

Footnotes:

[1] The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (New York: The Seabury Press, 1976), 32.

[2] Ibid, 32.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Th 5:16–18.

[4] Ben Witherington III, 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006), 166–167.

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