Lending My Voice for Your Prayers
I wrote this reflection for a Sunday in Ordinary time in 2016
First of all, then, I ask that requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be made for all people. Paul doesn’t want our prayers to be self-centered. By using four different, but equivalent, words for prayer Paul really wants us to be fully focused on the welfare of others. Even our political leaders! I think his heart is in the right place concerning that last bit, but I’m not so sure.
His idea is that if we pray for our leaders then an environment where people can live quiet and peaceful lives would happen and it would theoretically be easier for the gospel message to spread throughout the people. This would in turn be pleasing to God because more people would be saved and come to know God. That sounds like a good plan, but is that a real possibility?
There always seems to be people who live at the margins of society no matter who our political leaders are. People at the margins usually do not have a voice in regards to their own welfare in society. They end up needing the voice of another. When I read the gospels I see Jesus spending a lot of time with people who live at the margins. Jesus gave them a voice by listening to them, by eating with them, by healing them of their afflictions.
Like Paul says we need to pray for our political leaders. But our requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings shouldn’t be the words of our own. They should be the prayers of those who do not have quiet and peaceful lives in our society. In order to get those words we need to spend time with those at the margins.