|May 4, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters who love Jesus!
Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 5. I am certain that all of us agree that it is time to pray of our Nation. Let us remember that our first citizenship is to the Kingdom of Heaven. We are blessed to serve our King who sits on His throne. He is Lord of all lords and King over all kings. His reign will never end.
The Lord commands us to pray for our leaders.
NIV 1 Timothy 2:1-4
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-- 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
When Paul wrote this, Caesar was on the throne in Rome.
He calls us to pray in different ways.
“Petitions” – are urgent requests to meet immediate needs.
“Prayers” – most common word for seeking God in New Testament.
“Intercession” – means formal requests made to our King of Kings!
“Thanksgiving” – obviously means to be grateful for our King and His willingness to answer our requests. Prayer and thanksgiving are often combined in the Word of God. We thank God that He hears and answers our prayers as we pray and as we eagerly wait for His answers!
We are called to pray with faith and freedom. We are invited to pray to our Father in Heaven with any and every request and at any and all times! How precious it is to pray for our leaders and those in authority over us.
The goal is simple: “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.” Isn’t this a wonderful consequence of prayer? We have a clear conscience that we have interceded and our Lord has heard our requests. We are blessed to know that He already knows what we need and He will answer according to His will. His plan and purpose for this world can never be thwarted. Jesus taught us to say “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So pray fervently this week for our leaders and our nation.
To help us in this prayer vigil, I would suggest we follow the advice of George Duffield in the old gospel song “Stand Up for Jesus.” He wrote this poem as a tribute to a fellow pastor, Dudley Tyng, who had died suddenly. Pastor Tyng’s dying words “Let us all stand up for Jesus,” inspired Duffield to write the poem. It was first recited at the close of a sermon to remember his friend in April 1858 at the Temple Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.
We find both the command to stand and the armor in Ephesians 6:10-17.
NIV Ephesians 6:10-17
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The very next verse calls us to prayer.
NIV Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.
So, today I call us to pray for our leaders, our nation, our church, our families, and neighbors! Take a moment to meditate on the armor. Then take a moment to put each piece on by prayer. This will inspire and empower you to pray.
A few updates:
It is imperative that all of our members plan to attend our business meeting on Sunday, May 22, at 11:45 a.m. We will be sharing exciting news about the sale of a piece of our property. The profits from this sale will be applied to our mortgage debt.
We are very close to inviting two men to join our Pastoral Staff. Our interim Worship Pastor, Justin Anderson, is not interested in serving with us full time. We have all appreciated his ministry with us! On May 15, a guest worship leader will be with us. Pray for him as he seeks the Lord for God’s call on his life. Also, our search for our next Youth Pastor is progressing very well. Please keep our final candidates in prayer. I expect a decision to fill these positions will be made very soon.
Our offerings for the first quarter of 2016 are down about 9% over 2015. Please pray about this and ask the Lord to move among us to give as He directs. Another way to help us in this regard is to invite your friends and neighbors to visit our church. If you are thankful for FCC and our ministry, then invite others to come with you to church. Personal invitations will always be our very best method of outreach!
This Sunday we celebrate our Moms and continue our sermon series: “Marriage Matters!” I look forward to worshiping with you.