Prayer for this week

– Hello folks – Here’s a prayer I’d like to invite you to consider each day this week. Have a great week everybody!!!

“Dear Lord,
It’s hard for me to relate to announcing to everyone with a trumpet when I tithe; or standing on a street corner praying out loud; or to dumping ashes on my head when I fast! Lord I don’t even fast! So as I look at this section from The Sermon On The Mount: Matthew 6:1-18; it’s a bit difficult to entirely relate to what I’m seeing Jesus talking about. BUT, I can relate to doing things for honor, recognition and respect from others. I confess that sometimes my largest motivation is to please others; rather than to see You be glorified. What’s even worse is that I sometimes find that I’m doing these things without even realizing it! Oh Lord, this week, would You give me freedom from this rat race of trying to please and impress others? Would You lead me and help me to seek Your glory first. If I tithe; let me tithe for Your glory! If I pray; please place at the forefront of my mind that I have a wonderful opportunity to talk with You; let me not cheapen it by using prayer to try to seem more ‘Christian’ than someone else. In essence Lord; please help my heart to match my mouth, and most of all – may You do this for Your glory. Amen!”

 



Lent Days 27-32

  • We are 1/2 way into the Lent season. For those of you who gave something up, how has it been? Has the longing for the object/activity you gave up drawn you towards Christ and prayer? I have to say honestly that some days for me, yes-yes it has. And other days, no, I’ve just sort of gone on with my day. I gave up nighttime television. I have found that at times I’ve replaced it with working on the computer. However, the grace of the Lord has moved me towards Him as I’ve been on the computer. Just a little nudge to say, “remember why you gave up TV?” It’s not that I’ve needed to be in solitude and prayer every night once the kiddos go down for bed. But, even in light of the sermon this past Sunday on Spiritual Warfare, I am very reminded of how even the little things like pinterest (yikes, that’s addicting!) can replace what I’ve given up to move towards the Lord in prayer.

     

    What better way to re-introduce prayer to our life than entering into the Lord’s prayer. This week read in the morning and in the evening the Lord’s prayer. Read it once. Then take a moment-30 seconds…a minute… and re-read it again. Allow the words of Christ to slowly take over the space in your mind that is occupied by lists, homework, groceries, laundry (can you tell what’s on my list?!?). Don’t rush the re-reading time. Especially if you have time, you can slowly enter into the prayer and really soak it up. Let the words and the pace guide your time. Re-read it about three times. As you read it each time think about a word or phrase of the prayer that comes to mind or stand out to you. Don’t over think that word or phrase. Even write it down in your journal or on a note next to you. Then, return to the prayer.

     

    Once you have read it a few times, go back to the word or phrase that stood out to you. Read and re-read that phrase. Don’t over think that either. Just repeat that word or phrase. Spend about a minute or so here. If you have a lot of time, you can spend a while in each step. This time isn’t to examine why that particular word or phrase came up-it’s just to sit quietly with the Lord and allow his Word to occupy the space in your mind that is usually occupied by the things of your day. This meditation of Scripture is to slow your pace down and to practice just being with the Lord.

     

    Now that you have your word or phrase sufficiently repeated and occupying your mind, now you can go to the Lord and ask gently, “why was it that this particular word or phrase stood out? What would You like me to learn from this? Or what would You like to say to me through Your prayer, word or phrase of the prayer?” Just journal, sit and dialogue with the Lord. Perhaps the word or phrase that came up is something you already know you needed to talk to Him about-or perhaps is a new conversation with Him-where ever it leads, go to the Lord with it.

     

    Lastly-pray that the Lord would throughout your day today, remind you of that word or phrase that came up. In the moments that you are drawn to the thing you gave up for Lent, ask Him to use this word or phrase in that moment to recall to your mind the conversations and prayers you had together about this very thing. Conclude your time by praying the prayer again.

     

    As each day goes on, a new word or phrase may come up. Repeat this practice of praying through Scripture each day and see what the Lord brings up for you. Read the prayer in a different version (you can go to biblegateway.com for all different versions of scripture).

     

    May the Lord bring grace and peace to you as you meditate on his Word.

     

    The Lord’s Prayer. NIV Version.

     

    9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

    “‘Our Father in heaven,

    hallowed be your name,

    10 your kingdom come,

    your will be done,

    on earth as it is in heaven.

    11 Give us today our daily bread.

    12 And forgive us our debts,

    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]

    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]'



Lent – Day 1 by Alyssa Low

Lent.  As Ryan said yesterday in his email to you all, it's a sobering time.  Why is it sobering?  We are preparing our hearts to witness first hand our sin before us.  The purpose of seeing our sin before us, examining it, contemplating it with the Lord is to then release it to him.  That it is forgiven and forgotten.  My sin is a very sobering thought when I sit and really enter into my habits, my hiddenness, my capacity to lie, cheat, steal, destroy…but what is more sobering and yet incredibly hope filled is that this is also the time that God shows us that even though our sin is ever present, He has sent his Son to bring us freedom.  What Christ walks through in these next 40 days, the road to the cross and his resurrection, is what brings us freedom! What would we do without this freedom?!?   Entering into your sin is not to put distance between you and the Lord,  or to be a time to invite punishment on youself-it's to bring you together, to move towards the One who says, “Come to me, those who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.   Together, let's walk this road.

 

Prayer.  Prayer is the first part of the journey.  Pause would be another word as well.  This isn't just a time to think about something you should give up like TV, coffee, meat, thrifting (that's more for me than you all I suspect!)…fasting is a part of lent.  But there is a purpose behind fasting.  That is the pause and prayer part.  Pause and take inventory of your life.  What is something that keeps you from Christ?  Ryan talked this weekend about barriers in our life, what barriers are keeping you from experiencing the Freedom that Christ gives to you, to me?  That barrier might be the thing to fast.  Because when you are drawn to that particular thing, to enter into that activity, that is when you have a choice-do I break the covenant with Christ I have during these 40 days and enter into this activity, or do I use that hunger that I have for said activity and move towards prayer?  Ceasing participation in what you give up is not a punishment or even suppose to be something relatively easy where you wouldn't miss it.  Another layer to consider is this-it's also a very small token of sacrifice as you see, taste, sense, experience in a very small way, the sacrifice Christ is about to make on our behalf.  What was that even like for him?  To give up his life?!  What would it be like for us to sacrifice and fast some small, yet significant thing in our life for 40 days to allow us to journey with Christ towards freedom?  So, pause.  pray.  Think about something to sacrifice that would move you towards Christ in prayer during these 40 days.

 

What a blessing it will be to journey these 40 days together.   Peace to you.



Ash Wednesday

Hi everyone – one quick note.  Today is Ash Wednesday- the beginning of Lent.  What is Lent?  Isn’t that a Catholic thing?  Well yes; many Catholics do practice Lent- but so do many Protestants.  So what is it?  This is a great question.  About.com gives us a good definition.  You can check out this link here:
 
 
Basically put- Lent is a way to prepare yourself on a different level for Easter.  It is a sobering time.  A time to devote yourself to prayer.  For me- Lent involves fasting something.  What is fasting?  It is the process of setting something aside in your life- for a prescribed amount of time and using the time you would use to do that thing- to devote yourself to prayer- or to be reminded of something about God.  For Lent, many people will give up something during the forty days as an act of fasting.  Some might give up TV; or soda; or fast food; or all food; or sex; or smoking; or cursing; or something else..  From there when they are tempted to use these things; they use that as a time to pray; or to be reminded of Christ’s great sacrifice for them.  So the fasting serves as a conduit for prayer and to be brought back to God.  
Lent has been a powerful season for me in my journey as a Christian.  It serves to bring me back to the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for me!  It adds dimension to this Easter season- and reminds me of the power of the fact that Jesus was resurrected!!! Hallelujah, He is Risen indeed! 
So I’d like to invite you to consider joining me and my wife for this season of Lent.  Below is some suggestions to families for how to celebrate lent as a family; and a few other web resources to help you understand this ancient practice more clearly.
 
 
The biggest hope is that you see Jesus more clearly during this time of celebration because Jesus is Alive- and we have hope eternal!
 
Have a blessed week everyone!
Pastor Ryan