What If?

What If?

Thursday May 4th, The National Day of Prayer…

So we are participating in the national day of prayer this year… a group of pastors, leaders, and lay people gather in one place on that morning and pray together for a variety of things. We take a stand together for our community and pray that God moves in our state, the country, and our world. But, I just preached on Jesus teaching on prayer… and now thinking about people gathering together for 1 day to pray, just seems… incomplete.

I still believe we should gather this Thursday and pray, but I’m challenged by God to say, why not make this a daily reality. The bible actually suggests we should always be praying (1 These 5:16-18)… it actually states never-ending prayer is “the will of God”. This is no mystery… God’s will is that His people are committed to constant prayer.

At Missio Dei we discussed what a church who prays might look like. Instinctively you are thinking a group of people gathering at a building and praying together. Maybe this is on a Sunday morning gathering, or perhaps a devoted Saturday night… and maybe even a Wednesday night mid-week gathering devoted to prayer. What if… what if we made good on our conviction that the church is people and not a building and we became a bunch of people to commit to the will of God and became people who pray ALWAYS. If we gather together at a building then we pray most certainly, but what if we prayed even when we didn’t gather together at a specific place? What if when we gathered together to pray with our church family, we had been praying all week already and had some things to share about what God is already up to? What if we gathered to pray and that time just confirmed what God was already saying and doing when we prayer in our bedroom, our living room, at the store, at work, and in our schools? What If?

What if we saw prayer like Jesus did on Luke 11? In Luke 11 the disciples of Jesus ask Him, “will you teach us to pray?” and Jesus gladly teaches them.

He tells them to pray like this, “Father, Holy is your name, your kingdom come, Give us this day our daily bread, forgive our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sings against us. And lead us not into temptation.” Many people are going to be familiar with this “teaching” of Jesus or some variation of the “Lord’s Prayer”, but reading Verse 13 changes the prayer game for most of us… “13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

All to often we come to pray with our lists… wants, needs, crying out for God to intervene, etc. But, what if our prayers were centered around asking God to give us The Holy Spirit? More of you father and less of me. Make me more like Jesus (A work that happens only through the Holy Spirit). What if our constant prayer was less about getting God to do things, and more about God’s spirit crashing the scene? Your scene, my scene? What if the church prayed as simply as Jesus seems to suggest… Give us the Holy Spirit?

I’m not sure what it would look like… but I know ONE things for sure! Jesus said if we did pray this way, we have a father who will gladly give us the Gift of The Holy Spirit.

Would you commit to praying continually for God to give us more of The Holy Spirit and then sit back and see what happens?

Peace

Lent 2015… Free Your Mind – Worry Much?

Is your mind free of worry? What worry is cluttering your mind occupying space it was never meant to occupy? Find that thing/those things and pray about it. Not sure about prayer, try it and see what happens. Prayer has the power to remove worry from our lives and yet I seem to pray less when I’m in a fit of worry.

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During the Lenten season I’m going to blog about freeing our minds of the clutter and junk that we let occupy some of the most precious space on the human body.

Phil 4:6-7 says,
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

I can remember the first time I read this verse and felt like God showed me my heart in a protective box. I called a bunch of people up and was so excited about finding this in the bible and asked them if they had ever heard of this verse because it was so revolutionary. I later learned that verse 7 about God’s peace beyond all understanding is what guards our hearts and minds was one of the most popular verses in the bible. So many people would quote this in sermons and in conversations about God’s peace I felt foolish for even acting like finding it was such a big deal. But the more I live my own life the more I’m convinced this is still a hidden gem in the bible that many people including Christians need to get deep down into their souls.

Yes we may have heard/read this verse before, but do we actually live it in context of verse 6.

How much do you worry? Does it help you… worry that is. If you are like me it seems like I worry about A LOT. More than I should thats for sure… and simply put, worry causes me to act in ways I normally would not act. I’m worried about the bills, worried about my kids (on so MANY levels!), worried about the church, worried about what people are posting on social media, worried about my families happiness, worried about others, worry, worry, worry.

Let’s be honest, if you can worry about it… I’ve probably done it, and bought the T-Shirt.

But this gem of a verse helps us understand that we not only should avoid worry at all costs… it gives us a way to actually NOT worry.

But, it requires action… “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need”

The action of prayer is required to not be so bogged down by worry. Is your mind free of worry? What worry is cluttering your mind occupying space it was never meant to occupy? Find that thing/those things and pray about it. Not sure about prayer, try it and see what happens. Prayer has the power to remove worry from our lives and yet I seem to pray less when I’m in a fit of worry. Tell God what you need, release the worry, and see how this simple practice impacts your daily lives, your relationships and your communication with God.

Worrying never solved ONE single problem.

In fact it usually creates more problems, more worry, more headache, and more lost space in that precious brain of yours.

So lets commit this lenten season to the freedom of our minds… Stop the insanity of worry that doesn’t solve the problems we see and only creates more. Let’s commit to help each other live lives free of worry!

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

What can I pray with you about so that the worry disappears and freedom comes?
#freeyourmind2015

Peace

Tony

Have You Prayed This Before?

All too often we pray for others in hopes that God will move on their behalf. You’re sincere when you pray, and you really expect God to act. You realize just how desperate the situation is and if God doesn’t do something life might be hanging in the balance!

When people are going through a tough time we tell them… I’ll be praying for you! If your like me you have said this when…

Someone loses a loved one.

Someone is sick.

Someone is going through a tough time in a marriage

Someone is looking at divorce

Someone is dealing with the unthinkable… their kids are sick, dying, etc.

Someone looses a job or has significant financial struggles.

The list could probably go on and on…

We pray for God to put shoes on people in Africa, help those in poverty in Haiti, God please stop human trafficking, God Will You Please Do SOMETHING about _______!

Shane Claiborne has a book called Becoming The Answer To Our Prayers… which I haven’t read. But the title is enough for me to get the point! My mind has been on this subject lately because of the number of people I know going through these kind of times in their lives!

One of the quotes in the book I found in a review couldn’t be more true…

“God doesn’t want to change the world without you.”

God has and always will use people to change the world! What are you doing to be the change in the world, in your world, in the world of the people you know and love? Is it possible God is telling you to become the answer to the very prayer you just prayed?

Leading One Community Church for the last 5 months has helped me be more aware of the need for us ALL to become the answer to our prayers. The next time you pray I challenge you to say Amen and then say another… God am I the one you want to use to  answer this prayer?