Connecting & Praying talk for church 25th March 2012


Connecting and Praying

Are you like me and find prayer hard?

Why?

Is it because you are doing it on your own?

Jesus said where to or more are together there I am.

I find it easier to pray when I have others with me. Or I am praying for particular things on my heart.

Prayer is a conversation and they are hard to do on your own, we need at least 2 and maybe more to have one.

Ephesians 1 15-23

15-19That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

 

Paul finds he wants to pray for those he is thinking off, and he asks God to help them be focused on Jesus and what they are being called to.

 

20-23All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

As part of Christ’s Church which is at the centre of the world we must pray for the world around us. We will only connect with people if we are praying for them and the opportunities to speak to or help them.

Its like being at the centre of a bubble, you can touch all of it but if your outside you can only touch part of it.

Mathew 5 13-16; 6 5-14

7-13The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

14-15In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

 

Jesus told us how to pray.

Praise Him     Our Father in heaven,    Reveal who you are.

Ask for his kingdom to come     Set the world right;

For things to be done his way     Do what’s best— as above, so below.
For our owns needs     Keep us alive with three square meals.

For help in living in this world and dealing with others and temptation. [Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.    Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. ]

I find that this is an effective way to pray.

Start with praise and thanks.

Ask Him to bring healing and support to those in need, bringing His kingdom to be real in there lives.

Ask for help in doing things His way and not ours.

Then after asking these things for others bring our own needs to Him. But remembering that He is in charge and it might not be the right time for this to happen. Also remember that He can do anything but he can not go against His nature of Love and grace.

Those two passages if we were to follow them would help us to be salt and light to the world.

Salt and Light

 13Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

 14-16Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

We would find it easier to connect with others if we are praying for help in dealing with them.

We would see them touched by God if we use the wisdom God can give us in our dealings with them.

When we pray for others and the situations they are in we connect with God and with them and things happen.

When I pray for the times I spend in hospital pray for opportunities to talk or understand others then these things happen and conversations around faith happen.  When I don’t pray its just general conversation.

But prayer is not just about telling God what we want for others or ourselves it is about a relationship with God through Jesus. Through that relationship we open up the lines of communication to others.

I came across this last week it came as a link to Bryan’s blog

http://chiefofleast.com/2012/03/11/2267/

Bryan Daniels Chief of the Least

God Wants To Fix Your Transmurner Before You Ask Him

I struggle with prayer.

Conceptually and practically.

Most of those struggles are probably because I put unwarranted credence on my feelings at any given prayer moment. If I don’t feel a tangible groaning, or a burning in my chest, or goosebumps on my neck, then my prayers must have been rendered ineffective. Right? If I voice my prayer simply and without a series of major spiritual manifestations then certainly my appeals never made it past the bedroom ceiling. Right?

Wrong.

I am submitting to the awful doctrine that unless my prayer experience “feels” right to me, then God is impotent to answer them. In a twisted way, that is putting emotional subjectivism on the throne and kicking a Sovereign King off of it.

On top of this, Matthew 6:8 raises a different objection in the conscientious Christian:

God already knows what we will ask, so why do we need to ask it?

This verse has helped reveal to me the nature of biblical prayer like no other. God doesn’t desire we put prayer time in a nice little “To do” box we smugly check off each day after 10 mins of mechanical meditation. The whole purpose of prayer to a “Father” is to establish and nurture a relationship. Contrary to popular religious opinion, prayer isn’t about getting things from God; prayer is about getting to know God who is a loving Father.

That was funny. Right as I was typing that last sentence in the previous paragraph my three-year old, Josiah, walked in the living room and exclaimed in his cheery tone “Good morning!” I greeted him back and reminded him to go to the bathroom. After he was done with his business he went in the kitchen. I saw him open the refrigerator door. After staring into it for a few moments he returned to the living room with a request:

“I need juice, daddy.”

Poor little guy couldn’t reach it.

“I got it, baby.”

Now I know my child needs breakfast every morning, and his mom and I ensure that he gets it. But I didn’t put the computer down, get up, and go fix his juice and cereal for him because he had to ask for it. I gladly made him his breakfast because he is my son. And because he is a little boy with short arms, his asking also showed he is completely dependent on his dad for such things.

Right after I handed Josiah his breakfast, another request came out of his tiny three-year old lips:

“Can you fix my Transmurner?” (that’s how he pronounces “Transformer”)

Last night, before he went to sleep Josiah requested his new Transformer toy be his bedmate. Before we agreed, we disassembled the accompanying sword and sharper edges of the toy so he wouldn’t hurt himself. Of course that is semi traumatic for a three-year old, but after assuring him that is how Transformers go night night and I would fix it in the morning he was okay. Even though it was a trivial request compared to breakfast, it was a big deal to my son.

And it was my delight to fix his transformer for him. Not because he asked, but because he is my son. I also had promised it to him. And if I didn’t keep that promise I would be jeopardizing the trust within our father-son relationship.

I think the point is clear. In prayer, God does not want to be known as a genie in a bottle or a sugar daddy. In prayer, God wants us to display how utterly dependent we are on His gracious Fatherly hand. We are the beneficiary, He is the Benefactor. This prayer life all centers around the pure delight of relationship, not trumped-up feelings or requests for coats and boats. On top of all this, the Father has promised He would answer the prayers of His dear children, and He signed that promise in the righteous blood of His only precious Son.

In Christ alone we are accepted, adored, and made precious sons and daughters of God.

And this Son says to His brethren:

“Whatever you ask in my name I will do it, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” (John 14:13)

Pray away. He is not a begrudging taskmaster, but a joyful loving Father who grants requests on the basis of relationship not rule-keeping.

Sons and daughters don’t have to struggle to be sons and daughters.

Don’t do.

Simply be.

————————————————————————————

Isn’t that just wonderful, God wants you to simply be with Him, and then our prayers become His thoughts and concerns not ours. We just know what to pray for and it just happens rather than being a overly structured thing. Talking with our family and friends happen all the time and we do not feel we have to do them at particular times or places or in particular ways we just do them.

I wonder if any of you have examples of prayer this way opening up connections to others or your connections to others  opening up prayer.

 

 

 

Time of prayer.

Pray in 2 or 3 for each others needs just one thing each. Let God led you in that prayer.

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