Timberlake gives Congressional prayer in D.C. and on Speakers’ balcony


Sandhill Christian Baptist’s Jared Timberlake has received what he considers to be an honor of a lifetime, with a nomination from Representative Brad Wenstrup to give the opening prayer on the House Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, which he traveled to perform last week.

Timberlake is a Wheelersburg High School graduate and native who now resides in Franklin Furnace. He is an Army veteran, pastor, a volunteer firefighter, and works with struggling fathers through Community Action Organization of Scioto County.

Timberlake traveled to Washington last Wednesday, gave the prayer on Friday, and returned on Saturday. In his time there, he toured the capital, Arlington National Cemetery, gave his prayer at the House, received a private tour of the White House, met with elected officials, and more.

“When I got this nomination, I was very excited, because it is such an honor and not many people get to do this,” Timberlake said. “As a pastor, praying for our elected officials is something I regularly do, but getting to do it in person was really amazing.”

Timberlake has been preaching at the Sandhill Christian Baptist Church since 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic shook the world. He says that it was a serious test for him but feels blessed to have had such an accepting and supportive board that helped him get the church through a mentally-taxing time that would change mindsets forever. Through their dedication to their faith, and some hard work, church leadership continued practices that made their presence known in the community, survived the long shut down, and left the ordeal with new techniques and tools in their pockets—such as their invigorated online presence.

Timberlake says his church means the world to him, feeling a strong sense of responsibility and ownership in it. He was proud to represent them in D.C.

His predecessor to the pulpit was his wife’s grandfather, Ronnie Blevins, who served the church for 45 years. Timberlake has massive respect for the pastor emeritus, saying he learned a lot for him.

Just before Blevins retired, Timberlake and his wife were working with the church youth, learning from Blevins in all ways that he could.

“For about four years before he retired, I would travel with him as he made hospital visits,” Timberlake said. “I would help with baptisms and really just tried to stay in his back pocket to learn as much as I could from him.”

Once the decision was made to make Timberlake the church’s preacher, he says that he was thrilled beyond measure.

“It was overwhelming and exciting,” Timberlake said. “It was something I knew God was calling me to do. The way it played out was just a very heartwarming experience.”

While in Washington, Timberlake met with many elected officials.

“When we arrived in Representative Wenstrup’s office, we were immediately greeted in and he was there within minutes,” Timberlake recalled. “He shook my hand and introduced himself. He is a very nice guy and great to talk to. He is an Army veteran as well, so we sort of hit it off right away, talking about our military service. We then left his office to the Capital Building, where we got pictures. It was really neat, because they rolled out the red carpet and made us feel at home. The experience was more than just the quick prayer I gave in the House Chamber.”

Later that day, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson personally requested the presence of the Timberlake family to meet him.

“I got to go into the Speaker of the House’s personal office,” Timberlake said. “We went onto the balcony that overlooks the Washington Monument and parts of DC. It was on his personal balcony that we took pictures. I stopped him, and told him that I knew he was busy, but asked if we could pray for him. It was my mission to have prayer with as many people as I could. He was very willing and excited to let me pray for him. So, on the Speaker’s personal balcony, I was able to pray for our country, Johnson, and Wenstrup at the same time.”

Timberlake said the experience energized him and gave him a greater sense of possibility.

“When it comes to prayer and setting your mind to something, nothing is impossible as serving the lord as a community member and someone who is sent to spread the gospel of Jesus,” Timberlake said. “This experience told me that if God is behind it and I’m making action based on serving the Lord, then nothing is impossible. In the future, I think it will motivate me to pursue other opportunities as well.”

While on the floor, Timberlake gave the following prayer, “Heavenly Father, we come to you today thankful for another day. We are thankful for your blessings and your love. God, I ask today that you would bring guidance to all of our representatives and elected officials. As a nation, may we always seek your face and will. Lord, I pray that you will bring unity to this house that those serve may serve for the common good of our nation. God, I thank you that you have allowed us to live in the greatest country in the world. I thank you for blessing America for 247 years. Now, God, it is my prayer that America will bless you in all that we do, and that we will always be one nation under God. Protect us and guide us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Sandhill Christian Baptist Church is at 188 Midway Avenue, Wheelersburg, Ohio and Timberlake says anyone is welcome.

“Anyone is welcome to attend our services,” Timberlake said. “Our church slogan is ‘We are a family,’ so, anyone who comes through those doors, whether it is their first visit, or they’ve attended for years, we strive to make them feel like family.”

The church posts videos to YouTube the day after livestreaming on Facebook. The church also offers a kid’s ministry, teen ministry, young adult ministry, women’s ministry, and men’s ministry. For more information on the church, visit www.sandhillcbc.com.

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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