It was my turn tonight. You see, last year I was put on a list with several other pastors and clergymen. It’s a list of people who will offer a prayer of invocation at the beginning of one of the monthly meetings of the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Honestly, I was not looking for something else to do. I routinely have plenty of things on my plate from day to day. Many days, I’ve got enough things for several days. I agreed, however, when I was invited to be a part of the rotation. After all, it’s just a prayer, right? Ten minute drive to City Hall, ten minute wait while exchanging pleasantries with different folks, two minute prayer and then the option of staying for the meeting or heading to the next function. Surely a man can make time for a simple, little prayer.
I arrived tonight at about ten minutes before the hour, just making it inside before the skies opened up and the deluge began. Walking through the door, I took note of the larger-than-normal crowd gathered in the courtroom that had been staged in the official monthly BMA meeting design. Four beauty queens, representing several entities in upper East Tennessee, were on hand to lead the Pledge of Allegiance just before my prayer. There were several others on hand for one of the four acknowledgements and proclamations.
Most of the partnership of the law firm of Hunter, Smith and Davis were on hand. They were being honored as they celebrated their 100th year doing business in Kingsport. I learned that HS&D played an integral part in the establishment of Kingsport as an incorporated city. It was good to see many folks I had not seen in years, old friends of the family and former colleagues of my cousin/brother, Jeff.
“Five minutes!” cried the student assigned to run the audio/video internet stream for the meeting. As folks began to settle down and find a seat, my spirit began to be captured by the moment. The elected city officials of my fair city have invited me — an evangelical, Southern Baptist, Christ-following, Bible-believing, pastor, to open this meeting with a prayer. This is not a schedule busting imposition! This is an opportunity for me to take these people on a journey to take hold of the throne of the Most High God. To invite the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to inhabit our gathering and to bless our leaders and our city. I mean this is 2016. How many city governments still allow prayer to take place in such proceedings? What a true honor and blessing I have been afforded!
Here is the prayer I offered:
Heavenly Father, even as we have gathered together in this place, the seat of power in the city of Kingsport, we readily acknowledge your sovereignty over us, our city, our state, our nation and our world. We remember your admonitions to be submissive to the those who have authority over us and we pray that those in positions of authority would be submissive to You, as well.
Father, we are thankful for the ways in which You have blessed our fair city. Kingsport is a special place and we who have lived here our whole lives know this to be true. You have seen fit to give us unique gifts and grace us with quality people who use the talents you have given them to benefit our community. Father, help us to capitalize on those unique qualities and in the areas of disagreement, we pray for your continued grace to help us become “OneKingsport” just as we are one in You.
We are grateful, Father, for these men and women who sacrifice time from career, family, and their own private interests, to run for and serve in the offices of mayor and aldermen. Grant them wisdom to make the decisions You would have them make.
We are grateful for all those who make our city run from the city offices and departments, to the police, fire and emergency services personnel, every cog in the wheel vital to our well-being as a city.
Bless this meeting tonight, Father, and may you be glorified in all that is said and done.
For it is in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen!
Yes, tonight I was reminded of a very important truth — there’s no such thing as a little prayer. Prayer is the conduit of communication with the King! We must take advantage of EVERY opportunity to speak to Him.
Thank you to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen for still recognizing the importance and the power of prayer. It simply serves as further evidence that Kingsport is and always will be a special place.