Thursday 24th September
For this Reason!
Please be still as you come into God’s presence
Think about –
Andrew Murray – ‘Power in Prayer’
“He still sees it as important that each one choose a location where he can daily meet with Him. That inner room, that solitary place, is Jesus' schoolroom. That spot could be anywhere. It may even change from day to day if we have to move for the sake of family or schedules, but there must be a secret place and a quiet time in which the "student" places himself in the Master's presence to be prepared by Him to worship the Father. Jesus comes to us in that place and teaches us to pray.”
Song How great thou art https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc0QVWzCv9k
Readings – Ephesians ch3: 14-21
Back to those searching questions - “Do you exercise your soul?” or “when was the last time you had a spiritual workout?”
We said on Tuesday - “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” I Tim 4:8
Paul kneels before the Father.
One great exercise in the spiritual workout – ‘Kneeling’ What does kneeling mean?
It’s an act of humility. It is acknowledging who God is and who we are. It is reminding ourselves that we are not God and we need God in every aspect of our lives and in the lives of everyone we know and encounter.
The Psalmist says
“Come, let us bow down in worship: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” – Psalm 95:6
What does spiritual kneeling before God, mean to you?
Paul begins, v14 “For this reason I kneel before the Father . . .” Notice when he talks about worship in verse 12 he says, “we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
We may do that anywhere, “when through the woods and forest glades I wander . . . then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee how great thou art.”
“Everywhere God is, prayer is,” Tim Keller writes. “Since God is everywhere and infinitely great, prayer must be all-pervasive in our lives”
Several years ago, I went to the doctor’s struggling with a painful problem with my left knee. I can’t tell how excited the Dr was when he diagnosed ‘Clergyman’s Knee.’ Apparently, it was the first time he had a ‘clergyman’ with this condition. I can’t tell you how devastated I was when I had to inform him that whilst I prayed, there were only a few times, I actually got on my knees to pray.
There is no place we cannot, as it were ‘kneel’ and lay hold of the love, grace and power that God has for us. The posture of kneeling speaks of the urgency and seriousness of praying.
It’s not an activity that you reserve for times when your ‘make-up is being put on and your hair is being done’ (see Tuesday’s reflection)!
The normal posture for praying among the Jews was "standing". In Jesus parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector both were standing. Kneeling was the exception.
Isn’t it interesting and very significant that we’re told of an occasion Luke 22:41 when the Lord Jesus knelt down and prayed? If there was anyone who had the right to casually talk to God any time and in any way, it was Jesus, but we are told when he approached God in prayer he knelt down. It was his submission to Father God that caused him to kneel. He humbled himself and with reverence he addressed his Father.
If the Son of God worshipped God like that how much more should we display the same reverence when we coming before our Holy God.
So, kneeling to pray became common in the early church. Acts 20 there’s a wonderful scene at the harbour in Ephesus when all the elders said goodbye to Paul. They are in tears because he has told them that they will probably not see him again. He speaks to them and charges them to care for the church. Then we are told that he knelt down to pray and they all knelt down too. It must have been an incredible scene.
The harbour at Ephesus must have been bustling with scores of people coming and going, but there in the midst of all the activity the church gathered, got on their knees and prayed. What a sight!
Paul knew what it was to kneel before Father God!
One thing that God makes clear in the Bible is that He cares about the heart above all else. He says so to Samuel before he anoints David. Samuel sees David’s brothers, strong in stature, and thought for sure that one of these would be God’s choice. But God intervenes: The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ – 1 Sam 16:7.
JC Ryle says - Unless your prayer is from the heart, you're not praying, you've just lipped a request. To really connect with God is a heartfelt, sincere cry out to God that puts you in a position to be heard and to receive.
There must always be in our hearts a reverence and godly fear, and there must also be freedom and confidence. Both these attitudes must be maintained in true worship.
What Paul is saying is that his prayers for the Ephesian Christians were not haphazard, or accidental but very deliberate. He knelt before God when he prayed for them.
God wants our whole-hearted devotion. And prayer is one of the primary ways we live out that devotion.
Tim Keller calls our private prayer life “the infallible test of spiritual integrity.” God desires that His children have authentic and persistent prayer lives.
Your heart posturing desire to pray should come from your desire to be in relationship with God, not to receive attention or indeed praise from others.
Rejoice in your freedom to pray but reflect on how your posture reflects your heart. Many Christians today view prayer more as a means to get God to ‘do stuff’ for them instead of communing with God.
J.I. Packer, diagnosed the root of the problem as having the wrong centre of reference. The source of the problem extends further than our prayer lives.
Packer said, “It fails, to produce deep reverence, deep repentance, deep humility, a spirit of worship, a concern for the church.” What is the root of this failure? The centre of reference is man. Packer explains, “it is too exclusively concerned with to be ‘helpful’ to man—to bring peace, comfort, happiness, satisfaction—and too little concerned to glorify God.”
Spend time now -
Richard Foster has a helpful way that is called “palms down, palms up.”
First surrender - you begin by placing your palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over everything you are to God. Pray about your concerns as you do this.
After this time of surrender next, turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to bring thanksgiving and praise and also to receive from the Lord.
Don’t ask for anything. Allow the Lord to commune with you, to love you.
Andrew Murray’s prayer “Lord Jesus! Enrol my name among those who confess that they don’t know how to pray as they should, and who especially ask you for a course of teaching in prayer.
Lord, teach me to be patient in your school, so that you will have time to train me.
I am ignorant of the wonderful privilege and power of prayer…
I know that you won’t put that student to shame who trusts in you, and with your grace, that student won’t shame you, either.” Amen.
Song Lord I need You! https://youtu.be/LuvfMDhTyMA
Be still before God
God Bless You.
Communion Offering for September will be BMS World Mission – Harvest Appeal – ‘Operation Chad’
By supporting Operation: Chad, you’ll be helping this hospital – this beacon of hope in the Sahel – continue saving and transforming lives. And this year, as Coronavirus patients arrive at the hospital, the medical team at Guinebor II will be needing your support more than ever.
This Sunday will include our harvest celebration. Please watch -
BMS Video – Operation Chad as part of your worship (see order of service)
Autumn 2020 Church Magazine
Another 3 months have passed....so it is time for the next issue of the church magazine. Although the last issue in mainly electronic and colour format was well-received, we have decided to go back to the previous paper copies - provided Covid rules allow for a production & distribution team to operate! This will enable us to maintain a link with those local and further away folk who have not been able to access the mag electronically. However we will ask these people to specifically indicate that they wish to keep getting the paper copy (possibly only in black & white) as in future we intend to mainly rely on electronic format.
So the deadline will be Sunday 27th September. Apart from the usual articles, the themes I would like to concentrate on are further lockdown stories/reflections, especially any new activity or skill that has been developed during this time (not just Zoom technology!).
I look forward to receiving your articles
Mid-week services - starting Tuesday 22nd September at 11am.
This service is specifically for those people who cannot join us on Sunday using Zoom and they should receive an invitation from one of the deacons. Anyone else should contact Keith Arnold.
Monday 21st to Saturday 26th September 2020
“EQUIP 2020 – Holding Out Hope” will be an opportunity to remember and celebrate our hope this autumn. During a packed programme (four evenings and a Saturday morning), you'll hear from leading Christian speakers who have faced their own struggles – but found God to be faithful in them – and now hold out that hope to others:
Places at EQUIP 2020 are completely FREE for everyone!
Online booking is now open, so click here to book your place.
We’re praying that EQUIP 2020 will be a time for us to recommit to setting our hope in the Lord. And, as our relationship and personal walk with Jesus is strengthened and renewed, we’ll be eager to share that hope with our churches, with our families, and with our communities across Wales.
Raven House Trust! Please continue to pray for the work of Raven House and especially the growing need for food parcels. The numbers requesting the parcels has virtually doubled in two weeks, potentially giving out over 150 parcels this next week. Pray for the staff and volunteers, pray for food deliveries to continue (food bags can be dropped off at Underwood Baptist Church providing it’s safe and in order for you to do so) lastly, pray for the finances. Each food parcel given out by Raven House costs approx’ £15.00 each. If you feel you can help financially please send to the church account via Bacs payment or contact our Treasurers. Clearly highlighting the gift is for Raven House Trust.