Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Prayer: Evidence We Are Being Revived

Revive us, and we will call on your name (Psalm 80.18a). 

Last week these words from the Psalmist stuck out to me like a sore thumb. For the last five weeks, we as a Church family have felt a renewed call from the Lord to pray. To cry out to him for his Kingdom to come - for his will in heaven to be known on earth - for zeal for his agenda and not ours - for revival. Frankly, this final petition has weighed heavy on my heart as a pastor. My thinking was something like - If I just pray hard enough, revival will come to our church. If I can just convince SBC to pray with enough fervency, then revival will finally happen. It was as if prayer for revival was the X-Games in the sport of prayer - reserved for only extreme sort of folks who are world-renown for the vast number of "Father God's" they can fit into an offertory prayer. 

Prayer and revival, however, are spoken of differently in Psalm 80. Revival, being brought back to life, that is, precedes calling on the name to Yahweh for deliverance. Did you catch that? Calling on God for salvation-power is evidence that we have been and are being revived. This was refreshment for my thirsty soul. As a Church family we have been pursuing prayer with a measure of fervency that I have not known in some time. After seasons of prayer like we are presently enjoying, we often judge the "effectiveness" of the season by what we see God accomplish after we have prayed. I believe "the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous one avails much," but I want us to remember that the season of prayer itself is evidence of the life-giving power of God among us. We have been praying. We are feeling a renewed commitment to boldly come before the throne of grace. This, in and of itself, is clear evidence that God is at work in our midst. He is reviving us because we are calling on his name. Amen.

Please make plans to attend our Combined Worship-Driven Prayer Meeting with Cornerstone Church. We will gather at SBC at 6:30pm.

For further encouragement on prayer, please enjoy another sermon clip by Pastor John Piper
Prayer: A War-Time Walkie Talkie              

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Combined Worship-Driven Prayer Meeting

In the introduction of 2 Corinthians, Paul reminds us that God is the God who comforts. He is “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” He “comforts us in all our troubles.” “If we are distressed,” Paul says, “it is for your comfort and salvation.” In fact, the word “comfort” appears nine times in 2 Corinthians 1.3-7. Beginning in verse 8, Paul recounts for us a time in his life when God’s comfort was desperately needed.

Paul and his “entourage” had undergone various trials, massive trouble and unbearable pressure as they worked to spread the gospel of Christ over the province of Asia. Things became so bad they believed God had providentially determined their deaths. They learned to rely on God, however, and he delivered them. Listen to the words of Holy Scripture.

Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor us in answer to the prayers of many (2 Cor 1.9-11).

Did you notice Paul’s carefully nuanced language? God was the one who had delivered and the one he was trusting to deliver in the future. But the Apostle still acknowledged the role prayer played in their deliverance. They had set their hope on God who will continue to deliver them, as the Corinthians help them by their prayers. “Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Cor 1.10-11a). These words speak unashamedly about the significant role of prayer as God’s will is accomplished on earth. It was through the prayers of the Corinthians that God delivered Paul and his associates from the perils of death. Prayer is significant. Prayer moves the hand of God. Can you imagine a more important task? Please join us for a combined worship-driven prayer meeting of Somonauk Baptist Church and Cornerstone Church. We will gather at SBC at 6:30pm

For further encouragement to pray please watch the attached sermon clip from Pastor John Piper.