Mid Week Devotion 6/24/2020 “Empowerment through Prayer”
Good morning, afternoon or evening, depending on when you are watching this mid-week version of our online church presentations. I want to extend a greeting to those of who who are joining in today, however you found us, welcome! My name is Pastor Mel, I trust you find this space comforting, refreshing and safe as we continue to journey through life in quarantine.
I am happy to announce that in-person worship services will continue this Sunday, June 28 at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. Both services will be outside in the pavilion. Don’t forget your lawn chair. We will follow the same order of service as last week, if you were not there, don’t worry, it will all seem very familiar. If you want to come and remain in your vehicle, the church has purchased an FM transmitter so you can listen to the service on your car radio.
The For Heaven’s Sake Circle is collecting items to be auctioned to help pay off the Pavilion. Drop off of items can be done July 15 or 16 from 9-11 or 4-6 at the fairgrounds Merchant building on the north side. Items can be picked up if members call the church office. The auction will be online through Jess Spradlin’s site with all proceeds going to the pavilion.
Let us share some prayer updates:
Latham’s have asked for prayer for their daughter and son-in-law
who are expecting a baby.
Prayers of concern for Dr. Meyer who is still rehabilitating at Passavant Hospital.
Prayers fo joy for Kristine Earp and her eyes.
Prayers of concern for others who are recovering from surgeries or procedures.
Heavenly God, we gather as strangers and friends, from may different places. We are searching for new ways to live and follow you. Earthly Savior, come and live among us, that we might imitate you, using our hands to heal and our minds to create your will. May our time together be filled with your Spirit, transforming us into brothers and sisters, conforming us to your glorious purpose. Amen.
Lord, be with us as we pray the words which you have given to us;
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
For ever. Amen.
SCRIPTURE – Acts 2:1-4
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
I have entitled this devotion, Empowerment through Prayer.
DEVOTION: “Empowerment through Prayer”
It was a very good feeling to hold in-person worship services this past Sunday. So nice to finally see so many of you face to face. We are going to continue holding Sunday services in the Pavilion for the immediate future. If you do not feel safe in venturing out yet, please continue to tune in to these online devotions and worship services.
I ask that you continue to keep praying for the full return to worship in the church. It’s not that we need a building to worship, John Wesley would preach in fields, parks and even in the streets. Wherever two or more are gathered, there is God among us. Church can happen anywhere and worship of God is a 24 hours a day, lifetime choice. None of us are asking to live in the church building, we just want to worship together as a congregation. As we wait for that day, please know that the Sanctuary does not hold some super power that is not available anywhere else.
The church, or body of Christ, is a gift to help us remain faithful. Prayer is one of those gifts God gives the church and all its members to assist us. Even though amazing and unexplainable things occur through the gift of prayer, that does not mean we have super spiritual powers. Prayer, however, when combined with all the other gifts God gives us will help us to align our lives with God so that the Lord’s power can be felt in us and through us.
Because The Spirit of God is in our prayers there is untold power in them. We pray in church and outside of church. We pray in groups and we pray alone. We have planned times of prayer and moments when prayer is spontaneous. We pray for ourselves and for others we love or care for. Author, Dr. Henry Blackaby, one said about prayer, “The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God’s activity.”
Do you think the people at Pentecost we praying to be able to speak in another language, or did God do something beyond what was expected? In my experience, God is always doing unexpected things. Somehow, even though my prayers may not have been answered in the exact manner I thought, the eventual results where as I expected. Through prayer God prepares us us and gets us ready for whatever the Lord desires from us, or whatever the world has waiting for us.
I hope you don’t simply pray out of frustration or desperation. Prayer is more than pulling up a barstool and dumping you problems on God. Prayer can be a refreshing time of preparation to guard your heart, mind and soul for unseen things. God requires disciples to be ready for anything and prayer can be that time where God pulls us close and instructs, encourages, and empowers.
Compare Jesus telling the followers to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the new thing to our recent stay at home orders waiting for what may come next. What did the disciples learn as they waited for God’s next action? Were they all praying for the formation of the church? Probably not, at least not how God would have them accomplish that mission. Despite what they prayed for, did God not provide them a way to accomplish the goal of a beginning the church?
Certainly the disciples recalled the words of Jesus to go and make disciples. Maybe those words were ringing in their heads as they prayed, and God delivered. Has God not heard you while you have prayed over the past 4 months about what comes next? God knew the ones who would carry the message too far away lands and through the power of prayer this has been done. The same power of prayer is right here in Jacksonville, God is still speaking to us.
Don’t you think that your prayers about restoring the life of the church and God’s mission in the world are similar at the very least? I believe God has a plan for our lives and for the future of this church. We are the one who need to come around to what God wants and not the other way around.
God sent the new thing in the form of the Holy Spirit. Much to the surprise of those early followers a way was made for discussions to take place. Despite language barriers a fellowship of believers was brought into being. Amazing and impossible problems were overcome because of the power held in a prayer. Even today, if we are aligned with God’s will, amazing things are still possible.
Don’t tell God what should come next, pray that you are ready for it. Dr. Blackaby would also write these words, “Rather than focusing on what you would like to see happen, realize that God may be more concerned with what needs to happen in you.”
May God’s peace be with you until we meet again,
stay safe and God bless.