Hearing the Music

Results filtered by “prayer”


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The Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorite novels and I often think on Ma Joad and her relentless pursuit of keeping the “fambly” together through all of their challenges, despair and life moments. As we enter 2021, Ma Joad is coming to my mind again. I think we’d do well to catch some of her tenacity, and keep up the hard work of maintaining our unity as a church family during a global pandemic as we begin this new year....together.

There are many ways we’re fighting isolation as a church family: our Bible Studies, our C-Groups, Youth Groups, children’s Bible verse memory challenges, single women’s meetings and our varied worship offerings. Then there are the texts, phone calls and cards that are going out. But one thing is for sure--it takes work. It’s harder to connect. If you are struggling in any way, please let the church know.

One opportunity I’d like to highlight is our Together in Prayer group that meets via Zoom on Wednesdays 7-8pm. The group is mostly populated by those of us with older kids or empty-nesters, but all are welcome! It’s pretty simple--we say hello, we go to prayer, we chat a bit and say goodbye. Some people pray out loud, some stay on mute with the video off the whole time. But in that way we go before God in prayer together, and you are invited. Use this form to get the Zoom link.

Learning to pray is a journey for me. I’ve been surrounded by people who pray my whole life; I’ve had many, many people pray for me and my family (thanks be to God!!); I’ve talked about prayer and have prayed for others. But I’ve mostly felt guilty, inept and as if I wasn’t doing nearly enough. (rightly so!) I do not know the ways of Jesus going off by himself to spend time with his Father in the midst of his chaos. But I can testify that the Holy Spirit has been drawing me more and more into prayer, and teaching me to just do the next thing. And what I’ve seen is that He does work through our prayers. He likes to do that. Things start to move, and I can see it. It’s usually pretty quiet, but sometimes his presence is loud and without a doubt. (It feels to me as if we’re helping him in the kitchen--he could do his will much more easily without us, but he invites us in to use us and to train us.) I notice also that after a while I might change a longtime prayer over a situation to be more in line with God’s heart. This little app has been helpful to me: prayminder.com. It sends prayer prompts throughout the day. If you’re looking for something like that, I recommend it. Also remember our weekly prayer email. You can contact the church office to be added to the list to receive it if you don't already.

Noting big life events is an important way for the “fambly” to live together. We have had many entries for our family Bible this past year: births, adoptions and the dear ones who have died. Praying over these families would be a great way to live together with them.

This Sunday we celebrate Epiphany--the light of Christ going out to all the world. Pastor Addison will open Luke 2:10 with us; we’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper; we’ll hear an Epiphany testimony. Let’s look for the ways God is drawing us together into himself through these things so we can move into 2021 and welcome others into our family. May we "fear not and behold the good news of great joy that is for all the people" this Epiphany Sunday. 


Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Posted by Susan Guerra
in prayer

Process of Prayer

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And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”      I Kings 18:42-44

Yes I can confirm it is Friday, I checked the calendar this morning :-). As we have been studying Elijah, I have been observing one of the secondary elements to the stories; namely the role and the process of prayer in the life of the prophet. Prayer seems to be part of the prophets job description as a covenant intercessor. Elijah is certainly known as a man of prayer (cf. James 5:16b-18). But two things stand out as interesting in observing Elijah and prayer. The first is that sometimes God seems to answer Elijah’s prayers almost immediately (cf. 17:1 and the drought, 18:26-28 and the sending of fire) while other times there are multiple entreaties before the Lord answers (cf. 17:21 and the three-fold prayer for the boy’s life or 18:42-44 and the seven-fold prayer for rain). This matches my own experience in which sometimes God seems to answer prayers almost immediately, while other times it seems that the path forward is to keep praying, still waiting on the Lord to answer.

The second thing that is interesting to note is that when Elijah prays for rain, he is praying for something that God has already told Elijah he would do (cf. 18:1). Rather than seeing this as an unnecessary redundancy, it seems better to see this as the graciousness of a God who invites us into the accomplishing of his will. While there are many mysterious things about prayer and and God’s sovereignty, we can confidently say that prayer is something our Heavenly Father invites us into relationally, not transactionally. We do not come to God as we would to an ATM, but rather we come to seek his heart even as we pour out ours. It is through prayer that the Bridegroom courts his bride. As those united to Christ by faith, we can be assured that he has determined to lay out such a path for us that will effectively navigate us to the halls of splendor. Our invitation is to let him take the lead and by our prayers clasp his hands and follow his steps.

I hope that this is some encouragement to you today. As the days of quarantine drag on, the bills pile up, relationships are strained, as losses mount and new paths are sought; may we continue to come to our Lord in prayer. 

This Sunday we will be back with Elijah and the great confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel (I Kings 18:17-45). I do truly look forward to opening this word with you.

Weak at Prayer

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According to the Scriptures, prayer makes the short list of difficult things to do for the Christian. Paul says in Rom 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Here Paul puts prayer in the category of weakness. While we know we should probably pray more often, my guess is that most of us don’t ordinarily think of prayer as something that is intrinsically hard. Often when it comes to prayer we put the blame on ourselves, I can’t focus, or I can’t find the right words. Surely these things are true, but they are not at the heart of what Paul says our problem is. 

What Paul makes clear is the reason prayer is so hard is that we don’t even know what to pray for! And this is so true. I look at my kids and I want to pray “good” things into their lives. But I don’t know what “good” is. Maybe in God’s economy they need to experience hardship. I pray for my single friends to find spouses, but is that the “good” God has in store? Does anyone know what to pray for our world, our president? I don’t know?

But the good news here is that though we do not know what we ought to pray for, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Our Counselor takes the heart of what we desire for our kids, our friends, our world and translates our hearts to the heart of our Father. This is yet another plank that Paul is laying in this chapter that proclaims we are “more than conquerors through him who loves us.”

So cheer up! We do not know what to pray for, but the Spirit does!


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash