Saturday, August 13, 2011

When The Going Get's Tough, The Tough Get......Praying?

As I was preparing this week to preach from Matthew 7:7-12, I came across a quote I wanted to share. To appreciate the quote, you will have to understand the context. This past week has been tough for me. We have just a few weeks until school starts. All of our fall events for the church are starting to be ramped up. We just started the process of building a building. We are having to restructure our youth ministry, since our youth pastor is leaving. We still cannot find a place to live. Soccer is starting, and I got twisted into coaching. My car has been in the shop all week and they can't figure out what's wrong with it.

It has just been a tough week. But then I came to this passage in Matthew 7 where Jesus says "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you." It has been refreshing to my heart to pray this week and to hear my Lord tell me that He wants me to continue crying out to Him (I will say more about this passage on Monday when I recap my sermon).

So, I find myself at the point of really learning to pray for the things in my life and things in the life of our church. But what I find myself praying for often are things that are important, but not the most important. Enter Daniel M. Doriani and his commentary on Matthew (part of the Reformed Expository Commentary). This quote helped put things into perspective for me. Maybe it will help you as well.
"If we follow the pattern of Scripture, we will pray for God's material provision and for his spiritual gifts, with an emphasis on the latter. It is tempting for pastors to pray about buildings and budgets, but it would be better for us to pray for the spiritual life of our churches. Christian leaders might pray for their local church like this: that those who seek Christ will find him here, that the weary and lonely will find a welcome and a home, and that if we grow we will still welcome and disciple people one by one. We should pray that all will grow in knowledge and in obedience to God, that all will engage the culture, and that every teacher, lawyer, and businessman or woman will strive to serve God and neighbor at work. When things go wrong in the church, we should pray that we will trust one another and think the best of each other, preferring to think that an offense is inadvertent, not malicious (cf. 1 Cor. 13:7). We can pray that we will not probe old wounds and pick at the scabs that cover cuts from long ago, so that God can heal us and dark days may recede. God hears such prayers. He knows how to give good gifts to his church." (284-285).
What Do You Pray For When Things Start Getting Tough?

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