Archive for October 18th, 2020

Praying in the Power Pit


Written by J. Stephen Lang, a contemporary Christian author. This is an excerpt from his book “The Christian History Devotional.”

What would you say if you had two minutes to address a room full of the most powerful politicians in America? That question must have occurred many times to Peter Marshall, one of the most quoted preachers of his day. Born in 1902 in Scotland, Peter arrived in America when he was twenty-four. He made friends at a church who financed his education at a seminary in Atlanta, was ordained, and served a small church. He moved back to Atlanta to pastor another church  and met his future wife, Catherine Wood (who, as Catherine Marshall, became a noted Christian author). In 1937 he was called to be the pastor of the “power church,” New York Avenue Presbyterian in Washington, with its pews full of political VIPs. Marshall’s sermons drew crowds and were often reprinted in Reader’s Digest and The New Yorker.

The US Senate asked Marshall to serve as its chaplain, a position he assumed on January 4, 1947. The chaplaincy was mostly ceremonial, consisting of the chaplain opening each day’s session with a prayer. Marshall saw this mere formality as a means of speaking truth to the powerful. In one of his first prayers in the Senate chamber, he prayed, “We are at cross-purposes with each other. Take us by the hand and help us see things from Thy viewpoint.” Marshall’s prayers were collected and published as Mr. Jones, Meet the Master.  Peter with his Scot’s accent, oozed charm and warmth. He had a contagious zest for life, which helped to draw young people to his church. He packed a great deal of living and life-changing influence into a few years. Peter had a heart attack, then a second, and died January 26, 1949, at the age of 46. His widow published his story as A Man Called Peter.


This is an old Welsh prayer for peace.

As we go: take Jesus in our hearts to offer His love to the loveless; take God in our minds to speak the name of peace to the restless; take the Holy Spirit into our lives  to live in Her power, for the sake of all our human family. Amen.

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