A letter for Christians - also published on the FGB East Anglia website, and you may pass it on.
Dear fellow prayers,
The year leaps away with us and in just under a week we have the March Dinner to pray for. We are really blessed that our dinners serve several functions. To one it may be a place to come and relax with good food and gentle christian conversation, to another it is where we come with a friend for spiritual uplift, but to another it may well be the dynamic event where healing and salvation is the norm, and God moves in power and glory reaching into lives forever changing and dramatically affecting the individual. How can these all happen at the same time? Well just come along on Monday 16th and find out. Whether you can or cannot I am writing to ask you to pray for that event, in every respect.
Pray for Mark Burton, the speaker, who will be coming from Yorkshire - Mark is a young man who has met Jesus and been saved from a downward spiral of binge drinking, we all know of someone like that, but he is now a reformed character who is involved in starting new chapters, so we can all learn from that. I know I often say it, but can we pray for his state of mind on the day, that he will share those parts of his story that relate to those of us present, and that the power of the Gospel of Christ shines in that room next week.
It is too early to say who will be sharing a bit on the evening, so do just pray for Barrie as he leads, Bob as he shares music, Cliff as he juggles the PA etc. and whosoever will share a short testimony - all members who attend will be at a table, so pray that salvation may come into the conversations around the table and over the meal, and that you can partake of that sharing.
Acts 6:4 - Pray continually.
I have been challenged a bit recently about prayer, and more specifically about answers to prayer. We all of course pray in many ways, the instant 'arrow prayer' in an emergency, the considered beating at heavens door for a real need. The prayer for our own situation and the prayer for others.
One that I have used for over 40 years is inspired by Acts 6:4, but hear little about, it is to pray continually. It takes a bit of practice, but whenever activity pauses, start to pray. very soon you will find that you are praying throughout the day, and even the night. It does not affect other sorts of praying, or community prayers like in church, but it is amazing at keeping you in touch with God.
What about answered prayer? Because of who and what we are I am sure we all believe that God answers prayers, and more than the general sort of blanket prayers, like for 'world peace' or 'lifting up the poor.' We pray for specific things, like for 'Toms illness', "Dicks lack of cash' or 'Harriets business'. Born again christians ask specific questions of God, and they expect Him to answer. As others have said, "it's in the Word, it must be so".
The challenge to me is "how do you know?" I can only answer that from my own experience, and yours may be different. I am pretty certain that answers are as varied as the prayers themselves, but they do seem to fall into just a few categories
NOT NOW -
Let me share two testimonies.
In one I was asked to pray for a young woman who suffered from continual menstrual bleeding, it had lasted many years, and as a wife she desired a family, but in one week she was facing a hysterectomy. We prayed and she felt a touch from God, the bleeding ceased in that moment, a few months later she wrote to me saying how she was pregnant against every medical prediction Praise Jesus.
In two I was personally taken ill, so I prayed for healing, it is what we do...but God said clearly No, perhaps not yet, but he wanted me to walk with him for a while in this state. Now I cannot say why, but it was clear, the answer was there, and just like my young friend I knew in that instant enough to know my prayer had been heard.
When I pray for something, then my practice of continual praying means I am in touch with God. More importantly He is in touch with me!
Thought for today:-
The Bible also teaches "When I walk through the valley of Death - thou art with me" our humanity craves for the mountain top experience, but it is in the valley where we learn the most.
Blessings and thank you for praying,
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