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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's me and Will from now on!

'Prayer - privilege and importance of!' Simon Pethick,
UPCU main meeting, 13/11/2006.
(Have to admit I was very tired during this talk, so my notes are probably not up to scratch. Therefore anything that doesn't make sense or sounds dodgy is thoroughly me, not Simon!)

Firstly, this is a massive topic, and not everything will be covered tonight!

Do you realise that every single mistake you've made as a Christian is because of a wrong understanding of the character of God? It's the conviction of every Christian that if we really knew what God was like, prayer would be a privilege, not a chore.

Isaiah 6. Isaiah is seeing God. The temple = vitally important. It's a huge, mammoth structure -and yet just the train of God's robe fills it completely. Wow - how big is God?!
Seraphs - literally 'burning ones'. They burn with white hot purity. And yet with two of their wings they cover their faces. Even though these seraphs are morally pure and didn't fall, they can't look at God. He's just too glorious.

They call to one another 'Holy, holy, holy' - this is a dimension beyond which Isaiah's mind can get a handle on, beyond what our minds can get a handle on.

And so what's his response? 'Woe to me'.
Isaiah says that now he's seen God, knowing what he himself is like, unclean, there's no hope for him.

Surely, if we saw God as Isaiah did then we wouldn't be so complacent about our relationship with Him. And prayer would be a privilege.

The curtain has been torn! So now it's not just the high priest, not just once a year, not just in a certain place...we can come to God ourselves, anytime, anyplace.

Is that a cheap privilege?

No! It took the death of Jesus to win us that privilege.
Hebrews 10:19. We haven't earned the right. Jesus' blood has washed us.

Prayer in some way changes the way God acts. James 4:2, Luke 11:9-10, 2 Chronicles 7:14. Not time to really go into this now, but let's just realise that this is what the Bible says...but remember that the power doesn't come from us. The power always comes from God. But prayer is the key to unlocking that power.

Matthew 3:17. What's that got to do with prayer? Adoption - big theme in New Testament. When you become a Christian God acts towards you as a son. You change family. Matthew 7:9 - the explanation.

In the New Testament we have the distinction between 'out of' God's riches and 'according to' God's riches. Imagine Bill Gates was your dad - if he promised you something 'out of' his riches, he'd be perfectly within his promise to give you just 5 pence. It's 'out of' what he has. But 'according to' his riches represents so much more! And God gives 'according to' His riches - so how much can we expect from God when we pray?!

Perhaps we still have this idea of God being stingy. But that's not God! If we ask, He gives us His Spirit - He gives us of Himself!

Once you've understood something of! God is more willing to give than we are to ask!

Prayer isn't an optional add-on. Prayer is a necessity. It's the fuel for effective Christian living. If you don't pray, you won't achieve anything.

When we depend upon organisations, we get what organisations give; when we depend upon education, we get what education can give; when we depend upon man, we get what man can give; when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can give...

2 Corinthians 4:2-6. The veil needs to be lifted. That needs a miracle! How? We're gonna be really persuasive, a massive event we put on, leaflets we give out...? Nope!
verse 5 - preach Christ as Lord.
verse 6 - God made His light shine in our hearts.

God created light. He SPOKE it into existence. Imagine watching that. You don't even know what light is up till this point, then, suddenly, God just speaks and wow, there it is. He just spoke, and light came to be. God employs that same power that He used to create light in the first place to make His light shine in people's hearts. It takes that kind of power. So how on earth are you going to see anyone saved if you don't pray? Yes we play our part - but it's not us. Preach Christ, yes, but do not neglect prayer.

We don't think we need it do we. Sometimes it just feels like a waste of time. When faced with a crisis, we'd rather do something practical to try and solve the problem, than pray. But prayer has to be a priority.

Be a broken record when it comes to prayer. Be a praying CU. No matter your gifts, you're useless without prayer. But with prayer - you're dangerous! Imagine all God could do through a praying CU.

Are you praying?

"All may be done through prayer...on then - pray, pray, pray!" - Wilberforce.

Prayer is an urgent necessity for serious Christians. Don't just get excited about prayer for one evening, and then neglect it when the going gets tough. It's you and Will.


Blogger Anna said...

wow, wow and wow!

3:16 AM  
Blogger Jonny:) said...

Some thoughtful stuff about discipline.

So its realy all about Will and Grace

5:20 AM  

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