We recently celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, and I ran across a prayer by Dr. King. It says:
“Lord, we thank you for your church, founded upon your Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon you. Help us to realize that humanity was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace. Help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all God’s children-Black, White, Red, Brown, and Yellow-will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the reign of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.”
I like this prayer for several reasons. One reason I like it is because King is praying for the church. He is reminding us that when we are a praying community that intentionally pursues unity and peace in the midst of diversity, we are better able to carry on the ultimate work of Christ, who is reconciling all things to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). This goes right along with our first goal that we have set for ourselves as a church this year which is to “intentionally develop prayer and spiritual lives of all God’s people through opportunity and education.”
Another reason I like this prayer is because it’s praying for peace and unity within the church. It’s praying that we would do life together and love each other. This goes along with the first part of our second goal for 2020 which is to “strengthen in-reach ministries by greater transparency in governance and by enhancing fellowship opportunities . . .”
I also believe this prayer is a prayer for the church to express a gutsy kind of love. If our love is only focused narrowly and inwardly, it is not Christ-like love. Gutsy love is a Christ-like love that is outward focused, radical, unexpected, out of our comfort zone. Gutsy love becomes a sign in the world pointing to a Jesus who is real and a hope that is true. The church is called to gutsy love, and this goes right along with the second half of our second goal which is to “strengthen outreach ministries by intentional witness.”
Finally, I like King’s prayer because it reminds us that we are to shine like stars. God’s people shining like stars can cast out darkness. It can bring hope and healing into the world.
So, may we pray for each other and for our church. May we love and be grateful for the gift that God has given us-each other. And may we shine like stars who bring the light of God’s love, His gutsy kind of love, to our community and world.
Giving God thanks for you,