July 28, 2015
[I've enjoyed this recent devotional from our state minister for Georgia. Trust you will be encouraged by it also. -- Jim Young]
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 28 July 2015
A helpful method for teaching children to pray for others is to use the five fingers of their hand. The thumb, which is closest to the heart, reminds them to pray for people who are nearest to them: family, friends, and neighbors. The index finger, which is used to point, expresses authority and reminds them to pray for leaders in their life, such as parents, pastors, and teachers.
The middle finger, which is the highest of the others, reminds them to pray for people in authority, such as presidents, prime ministers, and “all who are in authority.” In some cultures, the middle finger is also a reminder to pray for one’s enemies because they can be those who “are in authority.” Of course, prayers for governing officials is “near and dear” to the ministry of Capitol Commission, and we have a prayer website – pray1Tim2.org – so you can join us as we pray daily for our elected officials.
As all pianists know, the ring finger is the weakest; therefore, it recalls prayers for those who are betrayed, marginalized, poor, or sick. Lastly, the pinkie, the littlest finger on the hand, is a reminder to pray for one’s own needs. God is concerned for you and I, especially when we “regard one another as more important” than ourselves (Phil 2:3). Prayers for others come first, and then we are last in the order.
Four of the five versions of prayer are petitions for others, which is called intercession. In intercession, we plead on behalf of another person, beseeching the Lord God for the sake of someone other than ourselves. Intercessory prayer is especially fragrant and loving in the presence of God (cf. Ps 141:2; Rev 8:4).
The astounding example of intercessory prayer is found throughout the Holy Bible. Moses pleaded for Israel in their wilderness wanderings (Exod 32; Numb 11). The Lord Jesus prayed for his enemies, and subsequently, the martyr Stephen did likewise (Matt 5:43-48; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:59-60). Prayer for enemies is twice blessed (cf. 2 Sam 22:49; Job 42:10) because not only does God hear and answer such prayers, but also we are inoculated against bitterness and self-centeredness when we pray humbly for the good of others, especially those who strive against us. Paul prayed for the local churches he established, and also for others churches (Rom 1:8-12; Eph 1:15-19a). Prayer is integral to the life of the believer, and the entire Christian experience is essentially an unceasing act of prayer.
Does the good of others, especially our governing officials, depend upon our faithfulness in prayer? Most assuredly it does, because in God’s economy, the good of others – whether neighbors or ruling authorities – often depends upon our work. Certainly, we can discern from Scripture that the Lord considers our intercessions not only for the good of our neighbors but also for our benefit. God uses our prayers and missions work “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (2 Tim 2:2; cf. Jer 29:5-11; Rom 10:11-15).
Missionary Pastor to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia