Posts Tagged ‘Fellowship’

Spurgeon & Prayer Meetings

One of the dangers of public prayer is that our prayers become more sideways than vertical. I am guilty of this type of prayer sometimes, and the result is not true prayer. Our primary focus is who we are praying with, and not the Almighty God we are praying to. This is what I mean:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The arrows could represent a number of things really. It certainly represents our focus. Perhaps focus of our mind during prayer, perhaps the focus of our words – and we end up preaching at others in the name of prayer. Remember the Pharisee’s prayer in Luke 18:10-12, and he does not go home justified before God. We should pray like the tax collector; ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ The arrows could be said to represent the position of our hearts during prayer. Who do we fear in public prayer? Man’s approval or the throne of God.

When we come before the Lord, it is important to recognise who it is we come before. We are approaching the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the God who is the Alpha and Omega. He is our Father, and we can approach Him with confidence (Heb 4:16) but He is our Father in Heaven, whose name is to be hallowed (Matt 6:9).

Here is an extract from CHS;

‘Another evil was, mistaking preaching for prayer. The friends who reputed to be ‘gifted’ indulged themselves in public prayer with a review of their own experience, a recapitulation of their creed, an occasional running commentary upon a chapter or Psalm, or even a criticism upon the Pastor and his sermons. It was too often quite forgotten that the brother was addressing the divine Majesty, before whose wisdom a display of our knowledge is impertinence, and before whose glory an attempt at swelling words and pompous periods is little short of profanity; the harangue was evidently intended for man rather than God, and on some occasions did not contain a single petition from beginning to end. We hope that good men are leaving this unhallowed practice, and are beginning to see that sermons and doctrinal disquisitions are miserable substitutes for earnest wrestling prayers, when our place is before the mercy-seat, and our engagement is intercession with the Most High.’ (C.H. Spurgeon)

Let our prayers be vertical and not horizontal. Practice on our own before the throne of God, and then it will become more natural when we come together with other Christians to pray.

I’ve just heard this from John Piper; ‘There are no victories in the Christian life without prayer.’ He’s right you know. That’s why it could not be more vital to get prayer right!


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I hope you enjoy fellowship with older Saints

I loved something Vaughan Roberts said at Forum this year. He said “I hope you enjoy fellowship with older Christians. If you don’t, you’re missing out.”

They are full of wisdom, grace, humility, experience, maturity, and well worth tapping into for life’s big issues and over doctrine. Aside from that, they are usually fun to be around, and generous in the giving of time and giving of themselves in prayer. This is one of the reasons I feel privileged to be a part of All Saints here in Preston, it’s a diverse church in age range as well as in many other ways.

Of course, it’s quite counter-cultural to be a student and to befriend older people but I’m convinced it’s one of the great benefits of being in Christ Jesus. There’s a man called Brian at church, extremely wise in important matters of cricket, but also full of pearls of wisdom about the Christian life (he’s known Jesus for more than 60 years), and I’ve enjoyed listening to him over men’s breakfasts and the like.

One time last year Brian took 4 of us student boys to watch a game of cricket at Old Trafford (where he is a lifetime member of Lancashire County Cricket Club). His lovely wife Kath made us a picnic and we made our way to the ground expecting to watch a great day’s cricket. Unfortunately, we are talking about a part of England that rains bucket loads all year round so we didn’t manage to see a ball being bowled, but nonetheless Brian’s kind gesture did not go unnoticed by us and it was the beginning of a friendship.

There are many older men who I have not spoken to at All Saints, and it is my prayer that I will endeavour to do so in the coming days, weeks and months.