As I write this column, Sharon and I, along with state missionary Spencer Hutson, are wrapping up the 2017 Pray Across Missouri tour. Our goal is to hold a prayer meeting on the Courthouse grounds in each of the 115 county jurisdictions in our beautiful state of Missouri. On Friday, Nov. 3, we pause the tour with the 110th prayer meeting in Carroll County. We will complete the final five in the spring of 2018.
We are grateful for every person who participated, and above all we are thankful for our mighty God who hears the prayers of His people in humble intercession.
Several have asked me to send them the talking points for the presentation I made at each location. This is certainly not verbatim because I customized it for each location:
“JURISDICTIONAL LEADERSHIP – We live in an incredible time in history. There are many things to be grateful for. The fact that we are praying on the Courthouse lawn is a wonderful privilege that is not afforded to most of the people in the world. Your presence at this Pray Across Missouri event means something very powerful.
“There are different spheres of life, jurisdictions, that most certainly need leadership–family, educational institutions, churches, businesses and civil government. When I speak of jurisdictional leadership, I’m not talking about control of power, but service in the context of our respective responsibilities. I recognize today I am honored to be standing amid some of the state’s very best servant leaders in the counties and municipalities.
“The need for godly leadership in every sphere of life, every jurisdiction, is desperately needed.
“Why is such leadership needed? One big reason is that brokenness abounds–drugs, sex trafficking, unforgiveness, prejudice. One symptom of the brokenness in families is the overwhelming need for foster care in our state. The Missouri Baptist Children’s Home is the largest private provider of foster care in the state. At a board meeting, the staff shared with me that over 6,500+ children were in the state foster care system in 2013, but the number doubled in one year with over 13,000 children in the foster care network. This is symptomatic of a much larger problem — a relationally broken culture.
“Legal statutes or humanitarian goodness cannot fix what troubles people. We need a fix to the heart, the nature of our lives. Many of us here can bear witness of the truth that there is but one hope for people, and that is to surrender our lives (and that means our behavior) to the Lord Jesus Christ. He then starts to put the pieces of our lives back together from the inside out. The more of us in a jurisdiction who give our lives to Him, the more our communities begin to reflect the peace, freedom and fulfillment that we cherish.
“All of us have important roles to play in our communities. In an ideal world, the leaders of all these different spheres would work together and help people fulfill their optimum potential. From a Christian perspective, from a biblical perspective, we believe that God’s signature is on every person from the womb to the tomb. So, how do we work together to help one another fulfill our unique God-given purpose? One way is by partnering together to provide jurisdictional leadership with our respective roles.
“Let me speak into this from the faith community. Since we stand on the court house grounds, there are some things civil servants and law enforcement should reasonably expect from those of us in the faith community.
“1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, ‘First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and dignity.’
“This verse compels us to do the following regarding our public servants and law enforcement:
“Pray – for you and your family, for your protection. Sometimes it is scary to leave for your shift when there is potential for violence every day.
“Provide – this should come as no surprise, as individuals, we will pay our taxes. Not simply because you send us a tax statement but because we are told to do so in the Scriptures.
“Promote Peace – Our intercession for you in authority is motivated by the goal of living ‘quiet and peaceable lives and that is good and acceptable to God and men.’ Our goal is to partner with you in any way possible to promote more peace to our communities, not angst.
“Our goal is that our communities reveal a people who look after one another and help one another in times of need. We, the church, the followers of Jesus Christ, want to be there with you leading the way.
That’s what jurisdictional leadership looks like in our communities. So, let us pray to that end.”