News and Info

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Simplicity of Prayer



”The Simplicity of Prayer”
Matthew 26:38

Second in the Series on Prayer—Oswald Chambers


”Watch and pray”. Jesus spoke these words as he prepared to be arrested and tried and ultimately put to death not because of something He had done wrong, but because He is God’s Son sent to save us. He told the disciples to sit while he went to pray over in a quiet space. He needed to connect with God the Father of what was going to happen to him and to prepare himself spiritually and mentally for all that He would take upon himself in these times. And through this act of prayer, Jesus shows us how important it is to pray to God but in His case it is so important because his is going through the moments of preparation for his death- for us.
How often do we say to ourselves- I’ll take time to pray after I do a certain task only to be thrown off from that particular action and of course not set aside time to pray?
How often do we think I’d better look after this phone call before I speak with God only to realize afterwards that praying would have helped more from a personal point of view.
“We ought to give much more time than we do to dwelling on the fundamental truths on which the Spirit of God works the simplicity of our Christian experience.” This means that we need to focus on the Spirit in our lives and our belief in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sakes.
God calls us to pray because we need to prepare ourselves for whatever we shall face- challenges or opportunities, celebrations or disappointments. And knowing that Jesus called his disciples to “watch and pray” enables us to also sit with our thoughts and reflect prayerfully to God about what is happening in our lives.
Prayer then enables us to walk and not faint,  to be strengthened and encouraged to do as we are called by God.


Quotes from  Oswald Chambers “If You Will Ask: ch 2 The Simplicity of Prayer”
PRAYER
God how good it is for me to know you! How vital it is for me to draw near to you! How can I falter when you are my Life? Enable me to watch and pray, and trust and follow. In Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.

 BLOG QUESTION:
How focused are you when you pray? Do things like a phone ringing or a bird singing break your concentration when praying to God? Or are you so absorbed in your thoughts and feelings that what is taking place around you is left unnoticed?
Jesus said to watch and pray. Do like him. Focus your eyes and heart on him and you will notice a difference in your life each day.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Purpose of Prayer



”Purpose of Prayer”
I Timothy 2:1-8

In Paul’s letter to Timothy he states that everyone should pray for everyone—kings and leaders in authority so that all may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. But why should we do this? -Because this is a desired practice of God and Christ Jesus who is a teacher in faith and truth. Paul asks that we should pray everywhere and lift up our hands without ‘wrath and doubting.”
But what good is prayer? What does it accomplish? Why should one pray?
Oswald Chambers  served as a YMCA chaplain during World War I  and after a few days in Egypt he announced that there would be a week night religious service in the camp just outside Cairo. Over 400 men packed the hut to hear him speak. What were the men searching for? What did they need?--a reality check and to reach out to God. Oswald Chambers stated,” When a man is at his wits’ end, it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way to get in touch with Reality.”
            Why pray? It is not a part of the natural life but does one truly suffer if one does not pray? This is doubtful but if one does not pray, what does suffer is the life of God in us which is fed by praying.  Prayer nourishes the life of God. Jesus prayed and was in contact with God the Father in open dialogue throughout his earthly life. As Jesus’ followers we too are called to pray even though God knows the things we need even before we ask. Prayer gets us to know God not asking and getting things. The purpose of prayer is to reveal the presence of God equally present at all time and in every condition.
            When was the last time you really had a heart- to God talk? A deep time of prayer where you tell God everything he already knows and clear your mind and you feel calm. This is the kind of prayer life we should be seeking because this is the relationship nourishment we need as we face difficult and busy days. This is the Reality we need—to know God as He knows us and the best way to do this is to pray every day.

Quotes from: Oswald Chambers, “If You Will Ask: Reflections on the Power of Prayer”

PRAYER
Why do we need to talk to you God? You know everything there is to know about me. But I do need to pray and so I start:
 O Lord this day keep my soul focused upon you as Creator of the world and upon our Lord Jesus Christ as Creator of His life in me. May your Spirit in me adore you completely-- Change my heart o God and enable me to do your will. Amen.

BLOG QUESTION:
What’s the Good of Prayer? Why do we need to pray--- Luke 11:11
Why must we do it? Luke 18:1   How can we do it? James 5:16
Prayer alters circumstances through you…Do you believe this?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Believers’ Prayer



”The Believers’ Prayer”
Acts 5:23-30

            Peter and John were questioned by the leaders of the Sanhedrin. On their release they returned to their people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said. They then raised their voices together in prayer. The words of this prayer:
Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
            After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
            Peter and John’s prayer was shared amongst those who believed and supported what they said and did in Jesus’ name. They were disciples of Jesus and were now blessed by the Spirit to share Christ’s story. They believed in God and what Jesus was to do on earth. They were unsure of what would happen to them after performing a healing miracle. They were questioned by the authorities and upon release they gathered with fellow believers to pray to God.
            Peter and John’s life and ministry were at stake. After their release from questioning they gathered the people together to pray and were filled with the Holy Spirit. As communities of faith do we seek support with fellow believers through praying to God? Is the Holy Spirit in our churches or peeking into the windows and waiting for the invitation? Do we even acknowledge God and what God has done like Peter and John did in their prayers? Do we share Jesus’ story in our prayer as a believer in Christ? Do we believe as Peter and John did by sharing and showing our faith in all what we do? Are you able to share in this prayer as they did with their fellow believers or are we afraid?

PRAYER
Loving God we believe as Peter and John did but sometimes we wonder if it is worth the effort to share this and show it. Help us to share this amazing story of love shown in Jesus Christ and enable us to experience your Spirit in us. Shake us and renew our hearts so that we may share your hope and love with others. Amen.

BLOG QUESTION:
How relevant are the words of “The Believers’ Prayer” today? Peter and John spoke of God’s sovereignty/ power and ruling over all as the Creator. They questioned why people fight against each other and why government leaders gather against God and Jesus. Yet we too gather as church families and communities of faith to learn more about our God.
What were the results of Peter and John’s prayer at that time? What should we anticipate if we share these words? Do we really believe this? Let us truly pray for the Spirit to fill us up and enable us to share boldly God’s word.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Change



”Change”
Luke 1:1-4

            The Canadian Mint has stopped producing the maple leaf one cent piece for use in Canada. As a result of this many people have been collecting their pennies and keeping them in jars for special purposes as a fundraiser for different groups. The penny still maintains its 1c value but it not being accepted by retailers or given in change. Many businesses have adopted a rounding policy of up or down depending upon if the sale comes to one or two cents above or three or more cents below a rounded number. In some situations the store keeps the extra change and other times it is the buyer. Eventually the cost of items will not show pennies at all. This is a big change for us all and for many it is more than just pennies going to jars and bottles, it is a sign of an economic shift which does not value the least coin or even its cost.
            Jesus observed the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  A poor widow put in two very small copper coins. Jesus said that it was this poor widow who has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.  When the woman put the coins into the treasury she had sacrificed from what she had to give to the temple and its mission. It was a few coins, coins which would be equivalent in value to our pennies. But Jesus noted that she had really given much more than its face value.
            The change that we have in our pockets and purses is a lot different than the change we seek in our lives but sometimes we only give a portion and hope to gain a lot. Sometimes the change we desire is limited by our efforts and commitment but unlike the widow, she gave of what she hoped would be a change in her life as she supported her temple.
            What are we seeking when we say we need to change? Is it because we need to be forgiven and taught to live in a changed manner with our focus being renewed in Jesus? Or are we just wanting a little change to appease those who know that in order to really change, we have to start somewhere?
            The least coin has many properties and one is that it still has value. Sometimes we forget the values we do have and want to change these for the sake of something newer and fresher. But what do you value? What should be changed? What should be kept the same?
            As the widow deposited her coins in the treasury, she had given of herself out of her poverty and hoped for change as she entered the temple. How often do we give of ourselves in the hope of becoming different through God’s Spirit? Or do we really seek to be changed by God?

PRAYER
Holy God as we offer to you our lives we pray that you will change us to be and become the people, faithful followers, you desire us to be. Watch over us as we seek to be changed by you. Bless us we pray as we continue to build our lives and have hope in you for this world. Amen.

BLOG QUESTION:
The widow gave only a few coins out of her poverty. Sometimes we minimize such gifts as only nice and kind, but if we really knew people’s situations we would take notice just like Jesus did of this woman. Do you see changes in people because of money coming into or being lost from their lives? What does this mean for us today as we seek to bring ‘change’ into one’s life through God’s love?