Devotion - May 29

[Psalms 141-146 / Proverbs 29 / Acts 1:12-14]

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.

Psalm 143:1

Supplication struck me in our readings for this Thursday. It's an old fashioned word. In the King James Version of Acts 1:14, we're told that in the days between Jesus' ascension and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost the disciples, several women, and Mary the mother of Jesus 'continued in prayer and supplication'. I like the term supplication. It is a reminder that prayer is not a conversation between peers. It means to humbly entreat -- its origin a word picture of someone imploring from below. When I pray, I am a supplicant. Kneeling in prayer really brings this reality home.

If I, as a Christian, truly pray -- kneel -- humbly implore God from below as a habit and practice of life it stands to reason that this humble posture will also translate to the way I interact with other people, approach my work or my politics or my neighbors. Humble persons are distinct in our culture. Prayerful supplicants are distinguished by their humility.

Dr. Francis Collins, the current head of the NIH and recent recipient of the Templeton Prize for science and faith, is a humble man. In the announcement of the prize it was said that 'Collins has “encouraged greater curiosity, open-mindedness, and humility among scientists and religious believers with the aim of illuminating a pathway toward, as he has written, ‘a sober and intellectually honest integration’ of the scientific and spiritual perspectives.” Collins had this to say about his prayer life in 2006:

"I try to find those moments before the world gets into its hustle and bustle, which it certainly does for me early in the morning, to reflect, to read a little bit and to pray. Prayer is, for me, not an opportunity to ask God to do stuff for me. Prayer is an opportunity to open myself, to try and understand his will, and oftentimes it’s a prayer of thanksgiving, and sometimes it’s a prayer of supplication, and sometimes it is just worship." Francis Collins in a PBS interview.

The believer who is against science is a favorite stereotype these days, and I know that examples can be found. But in our city, I encounter far more devout believers who are profoundly grateful for the prayerful and humble work of their fellow believers in the fields of science and medicine. If you are one of those scientists or medical professionals we are grateful, as your brothers and sisters in faith, for you. Today we pray for you.

Let's kneel humbly before the LORD to pray for especially for scientists whose work and research is ardently seeking to serve alongside Jesus in the mission to heal and restore.

P.S. - if you have some time, you may be interested in the recent interview between Rev. Timothy Keller and Dr. Francis Collins reflecting on 'Where is God in a Pandemic?'

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