It is a typical Sunday morning before church…
People are late arriving… It’s hot outside and the A/C is keeping us cool! Sunday School and Music Practice are in full swing.
Then it happens. The men begin gathering to the front of the church to pray for the service and to pray for each other.
This was started just a few months ago as a result of a men’s gathering at Anthony Kaauamo’s house for a time of prayer and share. (Click Here to Read the Report) Not every man of our church was there. Saturday’s can be a busy time of work around the house, or even a moment of rest from a busy week, but for those that were able to come, there was a camaraderie and spirit felt!
Over the past few months, more of the men have been stepping up to pray before service. As a small church building we are not blessed with prayer room, or even true kid size Sunday School rooms. We make do with what we have and are more blessed because of the sacrifice.
We try to follow a schedule.
Music practice starts at 10:30, along with Sunday School – both are done by 11 am. At 5 minutes to 11, the men gather to pray a few minutes. I have felt the blessings of praying men! It bolsters the service. It brings our hearts and minds together. It ushers the congregation toward a time of meeting God corporately.
Our ladies have been focusing on prayer for several years. They have regular meeting times and fellowships that bring them together for the same purpose.
It’s time for the men to shoulder this load together!
This past Sunday, I believe the prayer led us to a place where we were ready to respond when a medical need arose. The men jumped into action, preparing the way for emergency personnel. There was a bonding of the men that begins, I firmly believe, because they are praying together.
Jesus gives us instructions on praying and I would like to point out what I think are the three major threads of prayer.
First… Jesus describes prayer is something done in secret and alone, which should be like giving to the needy. It is not done in a crowd so everyone sees your action. It is done in private. This lets me know that private prayer is needed and should be done in your personal prayer place and at a personal prayer time.Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Prayer has order and structure. Paul tells the church at Thessalonica to pray without ceasing (1Th 5:17)… Always be in a lifestyle that is prayerfully considering everything around you! Along with this, Jesus gives us a format to use when we pray. We know this as the Lord’s Prayer…But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 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.
There are many patterns found in this prayer. Let me give you one. Enter into prayer by Acknowledging who God is… He’s in Heaven, He is Holy, His name is sacred, It is His kingdom and not yours. It is His will, and not yours. It is His bread to give, and we only need what sustains us today. We have a debt that can be more easily repaid to others when our debt is clear before God. Temptation is not something to pull us from Him, but it is a testing that draws us closer to recognizing Him as the one who sustains us! Finally, close in praise and worship by acknowledging His Kingdom, His Power, and His Glory!
Since a prayer of forgiveness of debt is mentioned above, I want to share what I think is a huge missed portion of our prayer. Our lack of giving forgiveness for trespasses done against us.
Again, Jesus speaks…For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
To gain forgiveness… You must forgive. Without your action, then you will not receive what you so desperately need – forgiveness from God. We see this is all facets of life. A perpetrator carries out a crime – caught, convicted and punished. Have you not see the news reports where the victims and the innocent parties forgive the criminal? This is what we need to do to whoever has done something to us… Forgive. Forgive. And forgive some more.
The men of First Church are praying. They are standing before God and with each other, practicing these threaded thoughts as we approach God for service!