This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO
Prayer, with instructions 062612
Books by Christian authors on the subject of prayer seem endless. For a couple of reasons, I don’t understand how books on prayer even sell.
Prayer, it seems to me, comes with its own instruction book. That is, when you start to pray, the first prayer should always be ‘Lord, teach me how to pray’. Prayer is something each of us works out day by day with God and with Jesus. I don’t know of a set of instructions that fit all of us, or maybe that fit any of us.
Another problem is that prayer does not seem to be anything like what we’ve been taught it is….somehow prayer has become an extension of culture, for many, and we might feel encouraged to use prayer as an extension of our consumerism and greed. Prayer as a mean of asking for more stuff seems popular and promoted.
Most of the people who read this blog seem to be very serious about being a Christian disciple, so I’m probably telling us nothing new. But what happens to prayer if we ask for nothing for ourselves, but only for other people? This may not be so difficult, because I have the idea that when people become more and more serious disciples of Christ, they need and want far, far less. Somehow, being a disciple of Christ fulfills our desires, and life is just perfect as it is. Acquiring something will not make it better.
Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
Pray with us!
We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net
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Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
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1 Kings 18:17-40
1O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago, which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage. Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
3Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.
4Your foes have roared within your holy place; they set up their emblems there.
5At the upper entrance they hacked the wooden trellis with axes.
6And then, with hatchets and hammers, they smashed all its carved work.
7They set your sanctuary on fire; they desecrated the dwelling place of your name, bringing it to the ground.
8They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9We do not see our emblems; there is no longer any prophet, and there is no one among us who knows how long.
10How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11Why do you hold back your hand; why do you keep your hand in your bosom?
12Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the earth.
13You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
14You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15You cut openings for springs and torrents; you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun.
17You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter.
18Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and an impious people reviles your name.
19Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals; do not forget the life of your poor forever.
20Have regard for your covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
21Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.
22Rise up, O God, plead your cause; remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
23Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.
1 Kings 18:17-40
17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father’s house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. 19Now therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel.
21Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” The people did not answer him a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. 24Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.” All the people answered, “Well spoken!” 25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. 27At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them. 29As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response. 30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; 31Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; 32with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. 33Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time, 35so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water. 36At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. 37Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. 39When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.” 40Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” Then they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon, and killed them there.
7When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. 9They marched up over the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. 13And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.