House of Prayer

I just received the May newsletter from Faith Church in Findlay, OH.  The lead article, by Pastor Michael Martin, talks about the importance of prayer and I’ve copied it here, straight from the Pastor’s Desk.

Every once in a while I sit down and evaluate my spiritual progress. During that time I often find there is something I need to correct. It is usually something important, but I have let it slip. I found one of those areas for myself this week, and I wanted to write about it because I think it can apply to the church’s ministry too: Prayer. I know, we all pray individually. We also read prayers together in worship. I suspect though, if we are honest, very few of us would confess to feeling we are good at prayer and pray enough.

Jesus covered every need and reason to pray in the words recorded in Matthew 7:7; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. If there is a need in life we need but ask. He assures us that when we do, it is given. Sometimes there is something we don’t understand. In such a case we are invited to seek. For some reason, the necessity of seeking becomes part of the answer. I have been told before that we shouldn’t ask God why? It seems to me though that in the invitation to seek there is also the invitation to ask why. Sometimes, we don’t necessarily need anything and we don’t have any questions, but we feel the need to be in the presence of our Savior. We want to feel his warm embrace and hear his encouraging words. In these times Jesus bids us to knock. When we knock the door is opened and we are welcomed in.

I do need to increase the duration and the quality of my prayers. I feel the Lord is asking us as a church to increase our prayer life together. As he cleared the temple Jesus quoted God’s words from the Old Testament, My house will be called a house of prayer. We pray, but are we a house of prayer?

I am going to concentrate on this subject in my articles this summer. It will be the focus of a few sermons as well. I also plan to put it into action. I would like to start by having a designated time we could come together and pray for the church and each other. When our worship time changes to 9:30 in June, I plan to go into the sanctuary or a side room at 9:00 to pray. My goal is to pray for 15 minutes and then go out to fellowship before we worship. You are welcome to join me. Do you have a suggestion for a better time, one that would work better for you? Let me know. I will already be praying for you, but I would love to pray with you.

If you cannot join in one of the times of corporate prayer, I ask that you pray on your own. Pray for me. Pray for the church. Pray for your needs. Pray for your friends, your family and your enemies. Spend time with the Lord. Send him a knee mail. Just pray.

FAITH WALK, a message from Michael Martin

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

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NISCU Funding

NISCU is an organisation which has operated in the North West for about 25 years. They go into schools and bring the good news of Christ to children and youth in both primary and secondary schools.

Matt Rich, who works with secondary schools for NISCU, has been sending out letters to all the Furness area churches about funding their Furness operations. Some of the larger churches, which previously supported the charity, now employ their own youth workers. Most areas and schools are not blessed with these resources and the NISCU is able to fill the gap here as well as supercharge those areas which already have access to youth workers.

The charity (246661 previously) has recently changed its name and number so if you look up the number above, you’ll be able to learn something about their operations.  The outstanding need of the Furness team, if covered solely by the Furness Anglican community, is equivalent to £62 per church per month.  Matt is going to look into getting an interactive programme to tally fundraising to date.  June 6th is the decision date for planning their future spend.

Let’s pray together about the work of NISCU and lift it and the children whose lives are being changed to God in prayer.  Father God, glorify your name in this place.  Amen.

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Grace and Awe

The banner on this web-site is a portion of tarantula nebulae, an immense star forming region in nearby galaxy The Large Magellan Cloud first seen by Fernando de Magellan in the southern sky on his journey crossing the ocean.  It is only 180,000 light years away in the constellation of Dorado, named after a fish that rapidly changes colour when it dies.

This is a Hubble photograph and I find it truly awesome.  The same God whose grace has given me life has created the truly amazing constellations of stars in the sky.  We can’t see them in vivid colour but He can.  What awesome views are His and yet He has time for us here on planet earth.  In fact, He came to us in person.  Father God, we praise your holy name.  Amen.

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Elephants Never Forget

It has just been reported that Senator Edward Kennedy is to have surgery for a malignant brain tumor followed by chemotherapy.  In a statement, the senator committed himself to doing everything in his power to get Barack Obama elected President following his treatment.  To say that the senator is optimistic would be an understatement.  With elections looming in November, that is a swift positive recovery.  Whatever one thinks about the election or the candidates, I want to pray for Teddy and his entire family but especially Caroline who must be on her knees night and day praying for this man who is so close to her.

My heart goes out to Caroline especially.  What a sad story for a child to lose a Father so publicly and then her Father’s brother and then her Brother and her Mother. Of course this has all made Caroline a strong woman and a fighter.  Such trials as this, one wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Accompanying the statement about Senator Kennedy’s treatment was the obligatory reference to Chappaquiddick.  This was a sad chapter in his life which took place almost 40 years ago.  No matter what he has achieved since, no matter what wonderful things he has done, he is always dragged down by reference to this moment.

What is it about this world that constantly wants to tear down everyone and everything?  We’re imperfect creatures and we make mistakes.  No one is immuned.  There that’s it.  So what’s the big deal and what’s the story and why can’t elephants ever forget?

As Christians we have Freedom in Christ.  We have an advocate in heaven.  The dragging down of sin is finished with the blood of Jesus on the Cross.  We can move on.  If only the world would get the message, we would all be transformed.

Heavenly Father, bless Senator Kennedy, his family and friends.  Hold him in your hand.  You aren’t finished with him on this earth.  Use him to your glory, especially during this trial.  Pour your healing light and love on his body, mind and soul and make those elephants forget.

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Praise

We believe that the answer God supplies is every bit as important as our prayer. Since we have two ears and one mouth, we ought to spend more time listening than talking. God often speaks to us through prayer and when we receive an answer to our prayer, it is always a transformational experience, even when the answer is not what we expected. Your experiences can help others who are going through trials of their own. Please feel free to share your experiences here.

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Prayer Chain

At St. Andrew’s church we have a prayer chain and encourage those in our congregation, local community and beyond to support one another through prayer.  If you wish to be added to our prayer chain, please add your request to our list. God always answers prayer and we encourage our members to share their experiences with others.

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