Yesterday morning, I sat in on a Bible class that talked about Martin Luther and referenced verses of Scripture that he said allowed all of us who believe, access to God without an intermediary. Here are some examples.
Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.'”
Another example is from Galatians 3:13-14. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written. ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
Paul also says in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
So, if we are all free to believe in God, to pray to God, I wonder why those of us in Protestant denominations still think the only people who are good enough to pray with others are those in church leadership or their wives. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I often write about experiences I have in my church, and this experience is one I have had recently. It threw me for a loop. I know I don’t have the most perfectly worded prayers, but I know they are sincere. My relationship with God has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, and I know it has grown because of the time I have spent in prayer. So, when I was told I was not good enough to pray because I was not a shepherd’s wife, I was hurt. I was very hurt. I really didn’t know what to say. I found the person a shepherd, and the requested prayer was offered.
Why can’t we pray for each other? Why can’t all of us offer prayers for each other? Why are the people in leadership the only ones considered good enough to pray? I’ve had these questions racing around in my head since the incident happened, and they’ve been complicated by the shepherd selection process we’ve been in for the last few weeks. I look at the people who have been selected, and while they are all worthy of the position of leadership, I wonder what makes them more worthy to pray for people than me. I want to grow. I want to serve. I want to be the hands and feet of Christ. But, I can’t do that if I’m not allowed to try.
I end by saying this. The next time a friend offers to pray with you, don’t reject them in favor of someone who is in church leadership. Let them pray!
Someone who is not a shepherd’s wife.