Praying as a Priesthood
Dear People of God,
Our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Reddall, has called for our prayers for her son Nathan. He is ten years old and attends school where my son does. We don’t know much more than that as I write and may never know much more.
This is the nature of life in a church community. We lift up others before God as part of a royal priesthood. I have met Nathan briefly and have seen him around events and the school, but I do not know him. What I know is that he is in need of healing, care, and hope. So I pray for him and his mother, their family and friends, and those caring for them.
When I got the news, I was walking to my car for an appointment. So I sat in my car and bowed my head. Then I called my wife and asked her to pray, then made sure the staff heard and started to reach out to others.
Some simple points:
We pray for others as a priesthood. The priesthood of Christ is the church. Our “priests” in the Episcopal church are really coaches, elders, and leaders. We serve as local shepherds under the bishop, but the real priesthood is in the members of the church. We present those who come to us to God, and we present God’s love to others. That is our job, all of us.
We pray as led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity whom we know as the Spirit abides with us and within us. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and he draws out ethical concerns from that revelation. But in prayer we also know that when we turn inward to listen to the Spirit lead us in prayer, we are led in whom to pray for and how to pray for them.
We pray and work to bring the Reign of God. God is King in biblical language, and God’s rule is gracious and marked by love.
God does not impose his will on situations without our participation. I wish I understood that, but in reality I often feel like I am in the dark as to when and how God gets involved. But I know that God moves when we pray.
We are part of God’s involvement in the world as we move his heart to prayer by invoking God’s love and action. But we are also charged to make God’s will known in loving and graceful acts when we can.
For Bishop Reddall and Nathan, that is obviously falling to the church closest to them, the hospital staff, and their family and close friends. So we are just called to pray for them this time, knowing that we may never know much more than that. It is a mark of maturity to be able to hold just what we can and leave the rest to God.
Please join us in this vocation of prayer and give thanks for a church that holds us all before God as we seek to love the world in his name, and as we pray for Nathan, our bishop, and those brought to us in love and the Spirit.