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Nate’s Notes: Pray Like Paul

by CCCLampasas

Ephesians 1:17-19a  17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

A rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, “So your mother says your prayers for you each night? Very commendable. What does she say?”  The little boy replied, “Thank God he’s in bed!”  (Children’s Prayers)

The young boy’s mom expressed her thankfulness in prayer. Paul revealed a rich prayer life in his Epistles (or letters) to the churches. His personal encounters with Christ in prayer shaped how he interceded for other believers. He often included an appeal to God for the churches near the beginning of his letters. What can we learn from his prayer for the Ephesians?

He addressed the Father with reverence.  This parallels  the Lord’s Prayer when Jesus begins with ‘”Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Both Christ and Paul obey and respect the Father. Their prayers are not flippant or overly familiar. Although Jesus knew Him as His Abba Father, he also knew Yahweh as the ruler of the universe whose name should be hallowed or honored.

Paul was consistent. He perseveres in lifting up other Christians. We can learn a lot from his statement that Paul “keeps praying.” Do we endure day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year? It is so easy to get distracted or to give up in frustration. What if the Israelites had stopped walking around Jericho after a few days because they did not understand why God had them circle a city each day? What if Joseph had grown tired after his brothers sold him into slavery? What if he had given in to the advances of Potiphar’s wife? What if Joseph had renounced the Lord while he rotted in prison? What if Noah stopped building the ark due to his neighbor’s ridicule? God often works through us as we are faithful over time, in and out of season.

 Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Paul’s prayer explicitly mentions the Trinity. We serve a the Lord, Three in One. So many people want a god that they can easily understand. I do not want that. I would rather be in relationship with Yahweh who is infinite in knowledge and power. He is so good, holy, and wise that we often do not fully comprehend how He works in and through us. Do you want an idol in your own image, or do you desire to bow down in worship before the Alpha and Omega, the God who is, who was, and who evermore will be?

I cannot do justice to this prayer in a single devotional. If I filled every book in the world with praises to the Lord, my words would not begin to adequately describe and extol our Lord and Savior.

Prayer:

Father,

May we prayerfully read and apply Ephesians and the rest of Scripture to our lives. I pray that we will grow in knowledge and insight as we walk with You. We know that You love us more than I can express in words. We are cherished by the Almighty. May You be glorified, honored, and praised forever. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Nathan

Nate’s Notes: National Day of Prayer

Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. In 1988, the law was unanimously amended by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Thursday, May 5, 1988, designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer. Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.

Prayer brings people together. Prayer builds bridges between opposing persons and even political parties. Prayer reminds us that we are created in God’s image and He desires for us to represent Him everywhere we go. Prayer brings UNITY. In 2018, our theme was Pray for America – UNITY, based upon Ephesians 4:3 which challenges us to mobilize unified public prayer for America, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Christians from across denominations came together in Lampasas Thursday to pray for our city, state, and nation. It is wonderful for us to gather united in prayer once a year; however, prayer is a daily privilege for the believer. We have the awesome blessing to go before the throne of God anytime. Jesus intercedes for us and the Holy Spirit lives in us always.

Today’s passage in Ephesians 4 emphasizes unity in the body of Christ. We ultimately do not follow a bishop, cardinal, council, deacon, elder, pastor, priest, or pope. Jesus is the head of the worldwide body of believers who have called upon Him as Savior and Lord. Paul reminds us to be completely humble and gentle. Jesus is perfect and always right but we are not. We are to listen actively to others, pay attention to our critics, and learn from other Christians from throughout history and around the world.

Paul instructed us to be patient and loving. Patience is not a virtue in the United States today. People want to promote quickly at work, watch television and movies at anytime, eat at fast food restaurants, expect to get great abs in seven minutes a day, find their future mate at the click of a button, and get almost any product in the mail in two days. We can even find a mammoth amount of information with a quick search on Google.

On the other hand, God matures us over years. Love takes time. Lust is about getting what we want now without investing in a relationship. Greed is about getting rich quickly and without ethics. Love is about looking past the faults of others and putting their needs first.

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Gentleness, humility, patience, and love promote unity. If we follow the Beatitudes and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit we will be unified. We are all ambassadors for Christ. We are all citizens of Heaven. We are all witnesses to the world. We all worship the same God in a multitude of languages and with an array of musical instruments. We are one in the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

Prayer for Unity
by Carl K. Moeddel

One only Holy Spirit of Father and Son in whom all are baptized, one giver of many gifts, one tree of many fruits, one speaker of every tongue, renew in our day the wonders of Pentecost, grant that people of every race and nation may understand one another, and as one, proclaim the praises of God.

Grant that all may be one as you, Spirit, with the Father and the Son are one God, one Lord. Grant unity to the Body of Christ. Amen.2

Pastor Nathan

Guest Preacher – Mark Perkins

Update: Sermon is at the bottom.

Sunday, April 29th we are blessed to have Mark Perkins from Outreach UK preaching.  Mark will be preaching on prayer and his bio is below.

Caleb, Sharon, Grace and Mark Perkins

Mark’s Bio.

I was born in 1963, in Chicago, where I fell in love with sport. I grew up watching the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears and would listen to Chicago Bulls and Blackhawk games on the radio.

But church bored me.

My family moved to San Antonio, where my love of sport increased and church boredom remained.

I received a Bible through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes while in high school. I read it and became convinced heaven and hell were real. I thought if I do more good than bad, I would be in heaven.

But I was not sure if I had done enough good, so I was scared.

A friend on my school basketball team opened the Bible and showed me salvation in Jesus.I believed.

I went on to the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Through participation in the Baptist Student Union, my faith took off! And church boredom left!

At UTSA, God called me to serve Him in England. I attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and arrived in England in June 1996.

I serve as an evangelist through Global Outreach Mission.

My wife is English; her name is Sharon. We have two children, Caleb (14) and Grace (12). I still love sports, love my wife and children and enjoy reading, board and card games, food (including cooking it!) and music. And, I love my ministry.

I visit door by door to tell people about Jesus, I preach, and I encourage Christians in their everyday witness.

Sermon Title: Jesus’ Example of Prayer

Passage: Luke 22:39-46

 

Nate’s Notes: Revive Us Again

Photo Credit: Christian Pics

4Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. 5Will you be angry with us forever?  Will you prolong your anger through all generations? 6Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?  7Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.  8I will listen to what God the Lord says;  he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—   but let them not turn to folly. Psalm 85:4-8 

Cliff Barrows, who closely worked with Billy Graham during his revivals, found out about a dedicated prayer warrior.

“Back in 1949 a woman named Pearl Goode, who lived in Los Angeles, had prayer seminars in her home with Fuller Seminary students and taught them the ministry of prayer. Unknown to us, she was a prayer warrior for the first LA Crusade and followed us for several years. God laid upon her heart a burden for those Crusade cities. She would make arrangements to stay in an area home or in a room by herself. She would not attend the Crusade meetings, but she prayed for Bill especially as he was preaching, that God would anoint him. She made it her ministry to be on her knees during his preaching and invitation time. She would call out, ‘Lord, bless Billy tonight as he preaches on the Cross. Pour out Your Spirit into his heart.’”

E. M. Bounds, one of my favorite authors on prayer, wrote, “The man—God‘s man— is made in the closet. His life and his profoundest convictions were born in his secret communion with God.”

The Psalmist in Psalm 85 and Cliff Barrows discussed the single most important ingredient in revival. It is not the preaching or the music: fervent, continual prayer remains the cornerstone to changing lives. The Psalmist cries out asking the Lord to restore us, revive us, show us, and grant us. Brothers and sisters, please do not listen to anyone that says ultimate spiritual insight and power comes from within us. This lie is as old as the words of the snake in the Garden of Eden.

4“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5

Notice that throughout the passage: the actor, the mover, and the protagonist is God Almighty. In our own strength we cannot effectively disciple, witness, or worship. We may give tantalizing speeches, sing with the voices of angels, or memorize brilliant gospel presentations; however, only the Lord can truly forgive our sins, revive our hearts, and transform our minds. Examine the history of revivals in Scripture and in our nation’s history. Every significant move of the Spirit begins with the will of the Father and takes place when believers are on their knees. Christians confess, intercede for others, praise, repent, and give thanks to God as the Lord’s might is made known.

No matter what our age, ethnicity, health, gender, past,  status, or wealth; we have a prayer ministry for our family, our community, our state, our county, and the world. You matter to Jesus. He lived and died for you! For every Anne Graham Lotz, Beth Moore, Billy Graham, Billy Sunday, Charles Finney, George Whitefield,  Jonathon Edwards, or John Wesley; there are millions of Pearl Goodes praying that unbelievers will be saved, and Christians will walk closer with the Creator, Deliver, Provider, and Sustainer.

We have such rich promises of blessing and strength from Adonai, our Lord. Every believer, who humbles themselves and seeks God’s face, has spiritual power through the Father, Son, and Spirit. Paul repeatedly noted:

… that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” Ephesians 3:16 ESV

 “18… that you may know 19 … what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” Ephesians 1:18-19 ESV

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so …Colossians 1:11a NIV

We can lift up fellow Christians, co-workers, enemies,  evangelists, family members, friends, missionaries, neighbors, pastors,  and strangers today. It is always in God’s will that we be people of prayer. It is always in God’s will that we love the Trinity and love people. See how Jesus modeled his ministry and prayer life. He even prayed for his enemies who conspired to kill him, the men who cast lots to divide his clothes, and the thieves on the crosses next to Him.

Prayer: Abba Father, teach us to listen and respond to your voice. Humble us and open our eyes to how You are at work around us. Use us as your instruments to present the gospel with boldness and wisdom. We thank you that you call us your children and that You will abide with us forever. In the blessed name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

You can find out more about Paul’s prayers for God’s people at ChurchLeaders.com

Nathan