WEDNESDAY EVENING BIBLE CLASS
Proposed Schedule for Wednesday Evening Bible Classes
October 7th — Kynn Maxwell
October 14th — Joe Winnett
Come and assemble with your brethren on Wednesday night for a spiritual uplift! Speakers will bring devotional messages followed by congregational singing.
MISSION WORK AND PRAYER
Weekly we encourage prayer for different mission works. Recently our Cambodian missionary Dennis Welch shared some powerful thoughts about the role of prayer in mission work. Read this week’s part of it, consider your prayers and keep praying. For the elders, Ken D
Prayer is mysterious. No way around it. No matter how much we read about it in scripture, read books or hear presentations about it, or practice the various forms developed through the ages by prayer sages, none of us really understands it. Not really. It doesn’t work like a Coke machine. Sometimes if feels like a slot machine, but we know that is not right either. It is a personal interaction with the Creator of the universe who is constantly monitoring over 7 billion humans on just this one planet, and who knows how many spiritual beings or other creatures on other planets in this vast universe flung over countless light years. We cannot understand it or master it.
This is not like talking to other people. It is communicating in the spiritual realm from spirit to Spirit, but it is something we can’t do without using our bodies. It is talking, but it transcends words or even groans. It involves listening but not hearing. It involves vision but not seeing. When we’ve done it, we aren’t sure what has happened, if anything. And when something we’ve asked for takes place, we can never know for sure what role our request played, if any.
For those of us who are of a rationalist orientation, that is frustrating. Perhaps that is why churches from heavily rational traditions would rather preach than pray. I think we need to acknowledge that prayer can be frustrating. It can be boring. But so can anything else if done regularly, including riding roller coasters. Still, it is also powerful and faith-developing, especially when we see what we prayed for happen in dramatic fashion.
For those of us who work in the world of missions and ministry (a distinction with little meaningful difference), we need to understand that prayer is not something we do in preparation to our work. Prayer is our work. Prayer is not something we do to support mission work. Prayer is mission work. Prayer is not just a prelude to setting strategy. Prayer is our strategy or should be. Prayer immerses us in God and joins our spirit to his Spirit as we join his work in the world. Once we grasp this, living out mission without immersion in prayer will become obviously ludicrous.
Toward this end, I think it is helpful to think about three ways God is with us in prayer. We might call this the prayer trinity as we commune with the Trinity. This concept is not original to me, but it has been so long ago that I first heard and began to approach prayer this way that I’ve long ago lost the source. That person was likely not the original source either.
Praying to the Father before us: As we enter prayer we need to picture the one before us. When we kneel or bow in prayer it is because we are addressing the Almighty who would terrify us beyond speech if we had not come to know Him as Father in Jesus. We come onto holy ground, with or without shoes, and make ourselves vulnerable to a consuming fire as we bring our needs, hopes, sins, fear, requests, and bodies to the one who made us. God the Father is before us. He is the source of our life and power. We come asking. There is no shame in this. Most of the Lord’s prayer is composed of requests. But it is more than a shopping list. It is seeking his blessing, his assurance, his empowerment, and his wisdom. We come needy to the one who has everything. We come foolish and uncertain to the one with all wisdom. We bow before the Father who is good but not safe. God is before us. We speak to him and connect with him as unworthy servants.
(Continued next week)