Posted by: lepages | April 30, 2010

Reflections

A mixture of scriptures, quotes, reflections and prayers from time in reading, prayer and reflection with God over the last 6 weeks or so – a lot focused on themes of worship and prayer……

While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:2,3 English Standard Version

This is interesting – strikes me that prophets and teachers weren’t fasting and praying because they were having an urgent prayer meeting about something – they were fasting to come before God in worship – in the context of that worship God came and spoke by the Holy Spirit. In response to God’s initiation they continued to fast and prayed into what God had spoken to them.

Is there an example here in making worship our priority?
Out of that God may well speak and lead us on.
Perhaps we need to think about fasting too, as not just something we encourage for specific focused prayer?

Lilian Miller, in an article ‘The Practice and Use of Prayer in the Church’, Partnership Perspectives January 2009

“But what of today’s church? Have we become so comfortable that we think we are self-sufficient and therefore no longer see prayer as an essential of the Christian life? Sadly in many cases this seems to be so, particularly in the West. Is this why we see so little evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in such societies? Are our churches run as businesses rather than as Spirit led communities? It is so easy to get caught up in organisation and the busyness of church life that we get our priorities all wrong. sadly, it is all too possible not even to notice that God is no longer among us.”

“Let your love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. Love one another with brotherly affection as members of one family, giving precedence and showing honour to one another.
Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavour; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.”

Romans 12:9-12 Amplified Bible

Wow! So much packed in such a few short sentences! Could spend hours reflecting on phrase after phrase. ‘Let your love be sincere (a real thing)’ – none of this nice words but nothing beyond the surface – real love. ‘Hate what is evil… turn in horror from wickedness.’ By and large I’m not sure that would actually describe most of us as Western Christians. I think that most of us don’t like the evil that surrounds, we might disapprove of it, but ‘hate it’, ‘turn in horror’ from it – more likely we tolerate it and put up with it. ‘Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavour’ – I don’t think I know many full of zeal and earnest endeavour……. ‘be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.’ Some love to be aglow with the Spirit, but how often does that work out in effective service for the Lord…. ‘be constant in prayer’ – oh that the prayer life of our churches be awakened, oh that there be a new generation of prayer warriors who would go after God, meet with God, hear God and go forwards with God!

In all my critiquing of course, there are bright spots, but surely these simple words, these short sentences are words which need to be heard by the Western church today….

‘And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.’
Mark 1:35 (ESV)

When was the last time I did that? Got up deliberately early to go and have time to pray? I do it sometimes when I awaken early with an active mind, but that’s more responsiveness than deliberate action – but then, maybe that’s the way the Spirit awaens me and prompts me to action…..

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

Jude 20,21 (ESV)

This is the wonder of prayer in the Spirit, it builds us up in God, it keeps us in the power and experience of his love and so equips us to go out and live for him. This is the answer to effective Christian service – being in the presence of God, meeting with him.

Martin Luther:-
“I am so busy that I find I cannot do with less than four hours a day in the presence of God.”

John Wesley:-
“I resolve…..
1) to devote an hour every morning and evening to prayer – no pretence, no excuse whatsoever
2) to converse with God face to face.”

A David Adam prayer taken from ‘The Road of Life’ – reflections on searching and longing

“Glory be to you Lord God.
You seek me, before I turn to you.
You call me, before I am ready to listen.
Open my eyes to your presence,
Open my ears to your call,
Open my heart to your love.
make me aware of you,
That I might live to your praise and glory.”

Next ‘Reflections’ post will pick up on some solid foundational truths I’ve been reflecting on.

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