Sunday, 21 October 2007
Week 2 as we continue the conversation 'Creating the Future' with prayer.Here at the Vineyard we are blessed to have so many wonderful gifted and talented people and in an age were we have such an emphasize on peoples strengths, with many good books that help us discover our talents; there is this fear that we would be tempted to carry on the voyage and relay solely on abilities, talents and vision. Is it possible that the Church could become one of the most prayer less spheres?
We have come to the conclusion that it's not enough to do Church we must be the Church and there is a huge difference. Prayer is connected to the relational side of our lives it’s more connected to who we are than what we do, so if we get busy then this very sacred mystical privilege gets knocked down the priority list. We think that we are slaves to time but truth is you don’t live by the clock or calendar we live by our priorities.
What is prayer? Lovers see qualities that onlookers never appreciate; Prayer depends on our appreciation of God. I’ve started taking a Sabbath from the summer time, It’s a confession of my humanity. PP Heb 4: 9 – 11
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Taking Sabbath helps me prioritise and brings perspective, it postures my heart and brings me into a spiritual contemplation where I rest in His presence,and begin to admire God and say "the Lord is my shepherd".
How do we get started, how can we turn our prayer life around? Let me answer that with why it’s hard to get started and what knocks us off course so often as we begin and it all starts with one bad word which we call the D word, anyone want to guess? That’s right it’s discipline, here’s a definition I heard for discipline, it’s this “discipline is doing what we ought to rather than what we want to,” I hate getting up in the morning but I need to get up. What begins as a discipline can become a passion, what begins as a discipline can become a lifestyle and what begins as a discipline can be the thing that gives you life. Prayer can become the same if you get started with discipline it will put passion in your faith and walk with God.
Finally it is important to remember that we do get to partner God in creating the future. Acts 4:23-31 demonstrates the power of corporate prayer: as “they raised their voices together in prayer to God…the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the work of God boldly.” Why pray together? Because in addition to fuelling Spirit empowered ministry, those that pray become that which was prayed for. The prayer is both the arrow and the target.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said over a hundred years ago:
The Condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-meter, and from it we may judge of the amount of Divine working among a people. If God be near the church, it must pray. And if he be not there, one of the first tokens of his absence will be slothfulness in prayer
Let’s discover together what God is doing with us as individuals but also as a community of faith through prayer.