“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT)
All People! The Apostle Paul urges Timothy to pray for all people. What a telling remark by the Apostle chosen to bring the Gospel message to the Gentile world (translation: the rest of the world). Paul is essentially telling his protege, “Don’t leave anyone out.” All are worthy of God’s grace, love, and mercy. Theologically speaking, Paul is making a statement of God’s pervasive grace for all humanity. There is no one worthy of God’s grace, not one, and there is no one excluded from God’s grace, not one.
The global United Methodist Church sent representatives (delegates) to meet in Portland, Oregon from May 10 through May 20. There was a lot of contention and disagreement in the proceedings. The United Methodist Church around the world is not completely of one mind on all issues. It is at times confusing and at times unsettling. However, there was at least one thing that I witnessed through the General Conference proceedings with which I was impressed and which brought hope. There was a true spirit of prayer that pervaded the conference at different times throughout. Methodists are people who pray constantly.
This is a clarion call by the Apostle Paul and, more importantly, by Jesus. We are called to pray for all people constantly. People we agree with and people we disagree with. People who are similar to us and people who are different. People who are a part of our church and people who are apart from our church. People who have a voice of their own and people who have no voice of their own. People who know Jesus and people who do not know Jesus at all. Methodists are people who pray constantly for all people. In The Book of Discipline it is written, “… (we) acknowledge that all persons are of sacred worth.” We are to pray constantly for all people.
A Methodist prays constantly for all people everywhere. We are a praying people and there is power in our prayers. I urge you to pray for all people. As I write this, I urge you to pray for my friend and colleague Pastor Bridget, her husband Kevin, her mother-in-law Jeanne, and her sister-in-law Krista as they grieve the loss of Kevin’s dad, Greg. It is in times like this that the constant prayers of our Methodist brothers and sisters in Christ support us. May God’s grace, strength, peace, and comfort surround the entire Thornton family.
I look forward to sharing more about this with you in worship this week. Keep praying constantly. Can’t wait to see you in church!