“Prayer both humbles us and strengthens us. Prayer humbles us because we are reminded of our imperfections, our difficulties, our needs, our unworthiness.”
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri- After speaking at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, Eric Greitens published a statement citing the Biblical story of Jacob :
“One of my favorite lines in Scripture comes from Joshua 1:9: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.”
We pray to remind ourselves that God is with us. Because, at many moments in our lives, we need reminding.
One of my very favorite moments in all of Scripture comes at Genesis 32:9, part of the story of Jacob.
All of you know this story: Esau is bearing down on Jacob with an army.
We know that Jacob did three things:
First, he tried to appease with an offering…
Then, he readied his camp and prepared for battle…
And finally, he prayed. He prayed for God’s grace and mercy.
Jacob was a powerful man—but he was afraid. And so, he humbled himself before God. He declared his unworthiness. He asked for His Divine Providence.
It is one of the most powerful moments in the scripture: when Jacob’s faith conquered his fear.
For us, maybe, this can be a moment in which our faith conquers our fear.
This morning, I spoke at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. It is a good tradition. And to many people, a prayer breakfast seems like a simple thing.
But it’s worth remembering that a moment like this should also give us courage—courage to know that we can all come together in a time like this to pray together.
We come together at the beginning of a new year.
We come together at the beginning of another chapter in the history of Missouri, another chapter in each of our personal journeys, and another chapter full of possibility for what we might be able to do together.
And it is fitting that the first lines in that chapter are lines of prayer. In prayer, we’re reminded that there’s no monopoly on wisdom.
Prayer both humbles us and strengthens us. Prayer humbles us because we are reminded of our imperfections, our difficulties, our needs, our unworthiness.
And prayer strengthens us because, while the work we have to do is hard—and may well be, and often is, beyond our wisdom and our power and any knowledge that we may have—we know that God is capable of this work.
There’s a Jewish Prayer book called Gates of Prayer. And it says: “Prayer cannot bring water to parched field, nor mend a broken bridge, nor rebuild a ruined city; but prayer can water an arid soul, mend a broken heart and rebuild a weakened will.”
May God open our hearts. Strengthen our souls. And inspire all of us to do His will this year.”