FIRST THINGS FIRST

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

 

Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People came on the market again last May with a 30th anniversary edition.

The New York Times best seller—over 40 million copies sold—may be known best for one quote in particular. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

If we will practice “Habit 3: Put First Things First,” then we must determine our ultimate priorities and stick to them.

This matters for us as individuals, but it is true as well for our churches. The apostle Paul addresses a first order of business in a letter to young Pastor Timothy:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Every pastor’s solemn responsibility is overseeing the proper conduct of corporate worship. Paul’s exhortation about how to do that involves keeping the main thing the main thing.

What is that?

All Kinds of Prayer

He piles up four different words for prayer, each with a different nuance, to emphasize that churches must prioritize prayer in their public services.

For whom should we pray?

All Kinds of People

We must pray for all kinds of classes and types of people. But Paul singles out one group in particular—governing officials at every level. Intercede for men and women with the greatest obligations and the widest powers for evil and for good.

Why pray especially for leaders?

All Kinds of Peace

We should place such a high value on societal calm that we make it a regular focus of corporate prayer.

In these days of COVID-19 disruption and racial injustice protest/rioting, we need our churches asking God more than ever for the wisdom, courage, and integrity of civil authorities to govern well for our peace.

This is good and God will be pleased.

4 responses

  1. Such wisdom in these words….especially concerning who we know that God specifically commands us to pray for. Obedience in this area of our lives would cover a multitude of sin in words and actions and opinions in the hearts of believers.

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