Sunday Summary, 26/1/14
Ps Ed and Ps James both spoke on Sunday kicking off our most recent series: “Individual Next Steps”. You can catch up with both messages here.
A stand-out thought for me yesterday was the incredible idea that prayer is not just talking and listening to God (which in itself is awesome!), but it’s having access to the very throne room of God itself, with open access to the Creator of the whole universe.
Ps Ed put the challenge out there… How would it impact our prayer life if we really saw prayer for what it is? If we realised the fact that when Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the Temple was torn in two, with perfect access to God being made available to all whose trust is in Jesus.
Ps Ed shared his own journey in prayer and like him, perhaps we all go through three major stages of learning how to pray (i.e. live with the privilege of having open access to our Heavenly Father):
- A Discipline. Prayer often begins with the need for discipline. Someone once said that “discipline is doing what you have to do so that you can do what you want to do.” Just like learning a musical instrument or a sport, if you aren’t willing to put in the discipline at the start, and even in the ongoing process of things, you are unlikely to enjoy the privilege of the activity long-term. The same applies with our prayer life.
- A Conversation. Building on the discipline of prayer, at some point we must take the step from merely talking to God, to allowing God to speak back.
- A Relationship. With ongoing discipline in both talking and listening to God, eventually comes the freedom of a relationship. Eventually, silence isn’t strange, just as with a good friend, and honesty flows freely. There comes an openness only accessed through an enduring relationship. This is what God has for us, and what prayer will give us if we persevere.
Ps Ed gave us some practical steps to help us in our prayer life, which included:
- Removing distractions
- Finding a quiet space
- Bringing a bible, notebook and pen
- Allowing God to speak to you through the bible
- Writing down what God says in your notebook
- Having the acronym A.C.T.S. available to help structure your prayer if you need help:
- A = Adoration. Acknowledging who God is will help set you up to pray.
- C = Confession. Coming to the point where you confess your need of God is vital. Why would we pray if we didn’t need Him? Needing God is key to a healthy prayer life. This includes but is not limited to confessing sins and failings.
- T = Thanksgiving. Thanking God for what He has done in and through your life.
- S = Supplication. This just means presenting your requests to God.
I personally found this message profoundly useful in my own prayer life going forward and I’m excited about putting it into practice. Praying the same for you!