Prayer is the Difference

"...Lord, teach us to pray,..."  Luke 11:1

Did you catch what the disciples asked for in this short passage from Luke? They didn't ask for coaching and instruction on how to preach, heal or disciple. They asked Jesus to teach them to pray. When we change the way we pray, it changes everything...the way we work, parent, relate and lead. It changes our priorities and it changes how we think, feel, act and speak. Prayer changes everything! 

I am picturing a dear lady in Alabama that I have known since I was 12 or 13 years old. I roomed with one of her sons when I was in college. She looked after me and made sure I was fed when I was in flight school and she helped Kim and I get settled as newlyweds. What I remember most about Yoshiko is how she prayed. She prayed with such humility and gentleness that it was clear she had a close and abiding relationship with her heavenly father. She poured out her heart for her family, for our church, for the lost and for her family in Japan. I hope to someday pray as she did! 

Mark Batterson sums up this passage by writing, "Prayer is the difference between appointments and divine appointments. Prayer is the difference between good ideas and God ideas. Prayer is the difference between the favor of God and the luck of the draw. Prayer is the difference between closed doors and open doors. Prayer is the difference between the possible and the impossible. Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best that God can do.

As we step forward to claim Bonsack's Community Life Center for Him, pray that God won't just show up but pray that He will show off!  We serve an awesome God! 

Pray without ceasing?

"Pray without ceasing."  1 Thessalonians 5:17

Okay, who has time for that? Everyone does, once you put it in perspective. Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk wrote that remaining in the presence of Almighty God didn't mean withdrawing from the world. To him, it meant redeeming every routine in our life and turning it into a prayer. According to Brother Lawrence, "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen...I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." 

What can we do? For starters, we can pray for people before and after we meet with them. We can ask for God's favor, discernment and grace as we meet. Then, after we leave, we can pray a blessing on them. We can live in a constant spirit of prayer and as we seek to do that, we will see God working in our lives as never before. Maybe praying without ceasing isn't that hard! 

Pray today for our church as we prepare to cross the Jordan into the Community Life Center. Every time God brings it to mind, pray for our guests, our greeters, our Praise Team, the CLC planning team, the Gathering Grounds team and pray for the ministry that will take place in the CLC. God is bringing us all together for His divine purpose. Pray that we see and understand His purpose for us as we engage and serve our community.  

To God be the Glory! 

Prayers as an Offering

Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.  Acts 10:4

How do you feel when you hear someone praying for YOU? Are you empowered? Humbled? Encouraged? 

Imagine the impact that our prayers have on our Pastors, ministry and support staff, leaders, teachers and musicians. Imagine the encouragement and strength that they receive when we lift their names to Almighty God in prayer each day. 

Acts 10:4 reminds us that God hears our prayers. He may not answer them as we want them answered or on the schedule we've established, but He always answers. What an awesome promise that is for the beneficiaries of Bonsack's ministries. Just as we may never know when our prayers are answered, we may never know when we are the answers to someone else's prayer. 

Join us in prayer today for the ministries of our church. Stop what you're doing right now and pray that God will be glorified and that men and women we don't know yet will be led to join us in this mission to serve our community and share with them the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. 

To God be the Glory! 

The Genealogy of a Blessing do not have because you do not ask God.  James 4:2

Batterson writes that, "Every miracle, every blessing and every divine appointment has a genealogy. If we trace them back, we'll find a genesis prayer that set in motion the sovereign act of God." What are you praying for? Who is praying for you? What have we been praying will happen if we are obedient to the call that God has placed on our church? 

I think its safe to say that we have yet to fully comprehend how God will use the Community Life Center to impact our community in the coming years. Sure, we have our ideas and we are praying for various programs that we think will provide the opportunities to serve and connect with our community. But the bottom line is that God is going to surprise us with what He can and will do through us if we are open to his leading. 

Pray today for God to surprise us. Ask Him to take control and surprise us beyond our wildest dreams. Pray today that we will each earnestly live out God's will for us today, tomorrow and every day. 

To God be the Glory!  

Contend for Me

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me...Awake and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord.  Psalm 35:1, 23

Batterson writes that, "Long before we woke up this morning and long after we go to sleep tonight, the Holy Spirit was and is circling us in prayer." Is that exciting or what? This passage speaks directly to me every day! Knowing that God is fighting for me gives me enormous peace.

Take a moment and read the passage for yourself and see if it doesn't encourage you regardless of what you are facing. (Psalm 35:1-28)  There is so much going on in the culture and the world around us that its easy to get discouraged and fearful. 

At Bonsack, we are working to allow God to be heard and welcomed in our community. The world is fighting to take God out of everything...we need to be fighting to put Him back. We have God contending for doesn't get any better than that! 

Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you. 

To God be the Glory!