Sunday, July 28, 2019

Brief Reflections on Our Core Commitments: #2 Prayer

Our Core Commitments

We believe the following commitments flow naturally from both our stated mission and our doctrinal commitments. Because we exist for the glory of God, our desire is to follow and worship Jesus Christ while influencing others to do likewise. This Christ-following life, the life of a disciple, takes a particular shape. Some of the most central aspects of this discipleship are outlined under following five headings: Word, Prayer, Holiness, Love, and Mission.

Prayer

"Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication" (Ephesians 6:18). The life of the disciple must be lived in the posture of prayer, for we have no power in ourselves to love or serve God.
  • We commit to spend significant portions of our corporate worship in prayer (Acts 2:42, 13:3)
  • We commit to consistent private prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • We commit to setting apart time for the elders to gather specifically for prayer (Acts 6:4)
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Why does the apostle Paul call us to pray at all times? In prayer we acknowledge our dependence upon God. Prayer trains our minds to think in terms of relying upon God, rather than our own wisdom or strength. While this is contrary to our natural way of thinking, conscious dependence upon our Heavenly Father is foundational to our lives as believers. To be a Christian is to trust in a salvation that comes to us from God on the merits of Christ's sacrifice in our place for our sins and the free gift of his righteousness for all who trust in him. If we are trusting in God for our eternity, how much more should we be trusting him in our everyday lives! Thus the apostle writes to another church, pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

This commitment to prayer as an expression of our dependence upon God is expressed in our Core Commitments in three different areas: Corporate, Private, and Leadership.

Corporate Prayer. We are dependent upon God together. We come to God to bring our requests as the people of God, not merely as isolated individuals. In doing so we participate in one another's trials and joys, pains and praises. We encourage one another and are built up in pursuing God in prayer together.

Private Prayer. Conversation is a two way street. The conversation between ourselves and our Heavenly Father has often been described as one in which he speaks to us through the Bible and we speak to him through prayer. This is a helpful analogy in that it reminds us that God is a Father who delights to listen to his children, and thus we may boldly approach his throne of grace (Luke 18, Hebrews 4).

Led by Prayer. In Acts 6 the apostles are confronted with a difficult situation in some widows not being rightly taken care of by the church. However, instead of taking this challenge upon themselves, they have deacons appointed so that they might continue to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The apostles recognized that as important as properly addressing physical needs was (and continues to be) this work would fall far short of what God intended if it were not an extension of a Christ centered, word driven, Spirit empowered, prayer sustained ministry. The devotion of church leadership to prayer is essential to the growth of the people of God.

1 Samuel 4, God's Not Your Puppet

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