Gardendale Nazarene

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Prayer | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene


Devoted to Prayer

Last night, we discussed a chapter on the Early Church in the book Multiply.  It was a great chapter that focused on Acts 2:42-47.  In verse 42, Luke records that the early church devoted themselves to four things: the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.  All four of these items must continue to be important things for the church today.  

A couple weeks ago, I asked you to pray with me.  Prayer has to be a central part of the church.  Francis Chan writes, “Could it be that we have lost sight of our absolute dependence on God? Have we lost the urgency of our mission and the sense that if God does not work through us, we will not be able to do what we have been called to do? Prayer is exactly this type of declaration. A church that is devoted to prayer is a church that knows God’s mission is the most important pursuit on earth. It is a church that knows it cannot succeed without God. May this type of devotion to prayer define the attitude of our churches.”

I was struck by that last line.  We continue to talk about our values and I believe that prayer is one the keys to God’s working in His church.  This is a great challenge to us.  I want to encourage you to set aside time for prayer. I pray that as a church, we can devote ourselves to God’s mission.  

Grace and peace,
Pastor John

Preperation Prayer

Over the years, many authors have compared ocean waves to the movement of the Holy Spirit.  If you watch an experienced surfer, you will see their placement in the ocean is very important.  They wait just beyond the point where the waves are breaking.  Usually, you will see them sitting on their boards waiting for waves to form.  There is an art to this ability to catch a wave.  Surfers watch the horizon.  They count the sets of waves as they roll under their boards.  Most surfers will know exactly which wave is the best wave out of a given set.  If three waves have been coming in a set, they know that the second is the largest out of the three waves.  Tomorrow, the first wave might be the largest.

With all this study and gut-instinct honed over years of being in the ocean, one fact remains.  A surfer cannot create a wave.  No matter how hard they study the ocean.  No matter how well they know the currents under them.  You cannot control the ocean.  Thus, surfers know one key fact- it is all about preparation.  Preparation helps you know what to do when the wave comes.  

General Superintendent, Dr. Gustavo Crocker, made a comment last month at District Assembly that rings true in our church.  He stated, “Pastors need to stop trying to persuade people.  That’s the job of the Holy Sprit.  Pastors need to start preparing people.”  No matter how hard we try, we cannot control the movement of the Spirit.     

The third chapter of John is one of the great chapters in John’s gospel.  We know it for verse sixteen, yet verse eight might be my favorite.  “The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear the sound it makes; but you don’t know where it’s coming from or where it’s going to. That’s what it’s like with someone who is born from the spirit.”  John is using a play on words in this verse.  The word 
pnuema in Greek can be translated as Spirit or as wind.  The Spirit is like the wind.  We don’t know where He is leading- but we are fully aware of His presence.  

Church, I see us as surfers.  Sitting on our boards.  Feeling the water rush back out to the sea- knowing that something great is building.  Our job is to be ready when Spirit moves.  

How do we prepare ourselves for what God is doing?  I think it starts with prayer.  I think it starts with us seeking God together.  Would you pray with me?  This is my prayer and I am asking you to pray it with me:

“Lord, open our eyes to the hopeless in our community.
Open our eyes to those who cannot find peace.  
Who, Lord, has lost all hope in a God who loves?  
May we, Lord, through Your Spirit, be a church where those who are hopeless find You.
Give us a heart for the ones who desperately need You.
Open our hearts to love them.
Direct our thoughts to people who need You.
Give us the patience to seek Your path.
May Your Spirit move upon Your church. Amen.”

Will you pray with me as we seek God's guidance and presence in our lives?

Grace and peace,

Pastor John

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