Pray Without Ceasing

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

We approach God’s Word and pray that the Holy Spirit, will open our lives to encounter the Living Christ. Join me in a moment of prayer.

Holy Spirit, in the beginning you inspired faithful writers to record your activity. You breathed life, into these Holy Words and empower us to understand the depth of your love and interest in our lives. Counselor, by your inspiration, the prophets spoke and acted in faith.  Grant us wisdom to hear your Word to us, children of God and create us to be living temples of your grace to the world. Come, Holy Spirit!. Amen.

 

SCRIPTURE   READING                I Thessalonians 5:12-28                                              Final Exhortations, Greetings, and Benediction

But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

 

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. Beloved, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN#304  “Jesus Loves Me”

 

THE MESSAGE                                              Pray Without Ceasing

If you read the PresPulse, you already know the source of our summer sermon series. At Sean Walker’s ordination and installation at the Chapel on the Hill, I discovered 7 Marks of Discipleship that form their faith community. In researching I discovered other congregations that also promote these seven marks of discipleship. These basic disciplines strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. So throughout June and July we will explore the ways we can strengthen our faith with the:

7 Marks of Discipleship

As disciples of our Lord, we encourage all who worship at Chapel to embrace the Seven Marks of Discipleship:

1. Pray daily
2. Worship weekly
3. Enjoy spiritual friendships
4. Read and study the Bible
5. Engage in service and mission
6. Share the Good News with others
7. Practice Generosity with time, talent & treasures.

Today, we begin with our prayer life, our conversation with God. I admit that my prayer life experiences ebbs and flows. I have days that I get lost in prayer and considerable time passes by quickly. Other days, I feel like it’s a chore that needs to be done, so I quickly lift up concerns but don’t take time to listen for God’s answer. I hope my experience gives you encouragement to know that every day will not be the same.

Also, over the years of walking with Jesus, I’ve found different ways to pray. I began with memorized prayers or using a prayer book that provides words to open a connection to Christ. The Lord’s Prayer which we say each week provides this connection.

Sometimes I use a form of a prayer that provides a wide range of topics that guide my thoughts in prayer. Our prayers of confession and dedication come from other sources to guide our corporate prayer. At times, a formal prayer helps to reopen a path to the throne of grace. 

Other times, I write a list of people and issues that I want the Lord to aid and assist. Our prayer corner lists the concerns of our congregation and our extended friends and family. I know some members use this list all week, others create their own.

I often use Scripture as a prayer guide reading and praying through a passage that helps me converse with the Lord and bring the written Word to life in my heart. I discover great insights from God’s Word as these ancient words become relevant to my daily Christian walk.

The mountain top experience of prayer is the free flowing prayer that as I walk around the sanctuary, the block, or a trail at a park, I feel a deep connection and abiding presence of Christ. The words flow freely from my lips and my heart soars with eagles. I might even break out in a hymn or spiritual song or even a heavenly language. The Lord wants us all to experience the connection through a prayerful conversation.

I pray alone in quiet times, in worship or other groups, and also take time in mutual prayer with other Christians. I have one prayer partner that we talk every week or so and pray for each other. It’s not quite the same as when he served a church nearby, but we still connect through prayer over the phone.

I’ve provided you with a little brochure from the Chapel by the Sea, a PCUSA church in Florida for a way to pray daily. As we celebrate the baptism of Addisyn and Kendyl today, I invite you to pray for them and their parents as they begin their spiritual journey. TGBTG. Amen

  September 2017  
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