Practice Prayer - Sunday 4/17
by L.Strickland | May 16, 2011
I missed this Sunday’s service, but after viewing the video – it was a real home run! What a blessing to join in the praise and worship and watch the service, even if it was from home. You can’t replace being at New Beginnings in person, but I so appreciate the fact that it can be seen online.
Pastor Randy read from Luke 11:1-13, regarding Jesus’ teaching on how we should pray. “There is probably nothing in the Christian life that is more advocated and less attempted, more urged and less understood, more recommended and less resorted to, or more praised and preached about and less practice than prayer…effective prayer is rooted in the understanding of Who God is. His name is to be treated as Holy”, said Pastor. He told us that we assume meaningful prayer should come naturally, like talking to a friend and we feel discouraged when it doesn’t. But there are differences between the two. Immediate feedback, through words, tones and expression create evidence of how that conversation is going – with God that does not happen. “For you to believe that prayer is more than a monologue requires constant exercise of faith”, he said. This very subject came up yesterday for me with someone asking for prayer, who has not prayed in a long time. It is amazing how each week’s sermons take on a life of their own through my daily walk!
When one of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray in this scripture, Jesus gave him what we call ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (see Luke 11:2-4). Pastor Randy began to break it down during his sermon but about halfway through the sermon his message changed and his message took a somewhat different route. He said “Somewhere through my ministry it dawned on me…’Seek ye first, the Kingdom of Heaven, and His righteousness, and His mercy, and His grace and His unmerited favor and all these other things will be added to you. I learned that God is not about abuse, He is not about threats, He is about mercy and grace. The Holy Spirit lifts you up and gives you hope – He never brings you down and leaves you hopeless. I learned that I could preach with an uplifting spirit – I can teach you how you can win”.
He asked us that when we leave today, to share our faith this week with somebody else and tell them about Jesus – invite them to church, and reminded us that nobody, nowhere loves us like Jesus does. Even when we mess up, He’s still there – He does not hold it against us. Jesus hung on a cross and died so that we may live. That, my friends, is Love! This is extremely encouraging, even when our answer to prayer may seem so far away. If we give it up to God, it will be in the hands of the Master. Who better to trust than Him? I have been waiting for an answer to something for many years and sometimes that spirit of discouragement comes around, but I remind myself of Who is standing in the gap and in Who’s timing that answer really rests.
This is a message that you really need to watch if you missed it. From the praise and worship to the passionate message that Pastor Randy shared, it was a spiritual feast and offered much of what I call ‘meat and potatoes’! I am looking forward to see what is in store for this coming Resurrection Day Service.
Best Quote of the Day:
“Is the only time we pray when we are in a mess?” -Pastor Randy