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Friday, June 25, 2010

Amish scooters leaning on barn
Bird In Hand, Pennsylvania

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Today's message is the third in a 3 part series from Romans 12:12:
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer."

"Faithful In Prayer"

"Faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12).

Thankful manYesterday we stopped by The Village Farm Market, east of Ephrata Pennsylvania for lunch. As I waited for Brooksyne to bring out our made–to-order ham and cheese subs I sat down at one of the picnic tables under the big roof overhang in front of the store. Two younger "Plain" men who sat at the table right next to me appeared to be carpenters. Without saying a word to each other they bowed their heads for a few moments of silent prayer as is their custom prior to a meal. From an early age they were taught by word and example the practice of giving thanks for the food set before them. Of course I have no idea about other aspects of their spiritual life, but was heartened by this simple act of faithfulness and devotion toward God.

Prayer is a foundational expression of faith. We speak but cannot see the One to whom we speak. We listen, not with our physical sense of hearing, but rather the spiritual inner heart. Jesus says in John 4, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." The effects of our prayers are often not immediate and at times seem ambiguous, at least from our perspective. Bluntly we may wonder if prayer really does any good.

Prayer at altarIn Colossians 4:2 Paul offers a similar verse to today's text: "Devote yourselves to prayer." In fact in the Greek it is the very same phrase. The sense of "devote" implies a strong attachment, allegiance, and affection for someone or something; in this case, prayer and the act of praying. It would include one's passion, time, and needed resources. One who is devoted is passionate in his commitment and consistency and will not be disloyal, inconsistent, or indifferent. This character description should give us a mental picture of one who is devoted to prayer.

"Faithful" is in the present imperative which denotes that we are to continually, habitually follow this command. It is to be one's continual way of life (lifestyle). This Scriptural call is not a suggestion but a command to make it our habitual practice. Remember that whatever God commands of us He also provides the grace and empowerment through His Spirit to carry out.

Prayer at altarSomeone has well said that "Prayer is the breath of the Christian life and almost nothing decays so fast in the fallen human heart as the desire to pray." In other words, nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect. We must come back to it again and again and stoke the fire lest, out of neglect, it becomes nothing more than useless cold embers.

Most Christians will confess the difficulty of maintaining a regular and effective prayer life. The reason is not difficult to discern. If Satan can keep us out of touch with God, he will not have to worry about any trouble we might cause for his evil kingdom.

Believing friend, when we are prayed up our allurement to sin is far less appealing, our spirit is strengthened, and our communion with God becomes the anchor which holds us steady in the daily stresses and major events of our life.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, the clamor for our heart's devotion comes from many sources and often overpowers the beckoning command from Scripture to devote ourselves daily to prayer. As we are faithful in prayer we have power to overcome the enemy and intensify our love and devotion to You. We know that prayer is not optional for the believer, but an ordinance from the Bible. You who created us knows what will sustain us and keep us from falling into the hands of our enemy. Help us to be faithful in prayer so that we will be also be joyful in hope and patient in affliction. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Yesterday Tom, a longtime friend from northern PA, commented on the message "Patient in Affliction" and suggested reading Psalm 66. I note
verses 10-12 are especially pertinent to the topic.

We enjoy harvest scenes and fully matured plantings are being harvested all through the summer. Presently it's wheat and hay.

I was visiting some men in a factory in the course of our chaplain work yesterday and noticed this scene outside of one of the shipping docks. I suppose this is not a common sight for too many of our readers where they work!

Wheat shocks
The wheat is cut and then stacked in shocks to dry. It will be gathered and the grain will be removed with a thresher (see photo). I spoke to my friend Elvin, a member of an old order group yesterday, and he told me that the children will help in pitching up the wheat onto the wagons. That would be a great photo!

This farmer had five of his children on the wagon.
Notice the little girls with their bonnets!

Alfalfa bales on wagon in Amish barn
We had a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon and this farmer managed to get his freshly baled alfalfa into the barn just in time!

Miniature horse
We stopped by a friend's house for a visit late yesterday afternoon and Daniel invited me to sit up on his cart. It was a pleasurable sight to watch him riding along on his cart as he was delivering some plants to neighbors.  I thought you'd get a sense of how miniature the horse is if I sat on the cart.  Some dog breeds are bigger than these horses.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"I Must Tell Jesus"  Video  Mark Jones and the Cornerstone Church Choir. We are both greatly blessed by this hymn and this particular version.  The soloist sings with such earnest expression.  A line in this hymn has often spoken to my heart and is so needed today:

O how the world to evil allures me,
O how my heart is tempted to sin,
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
Over the world the vic'-t'ry to win.

"I Need Thee Every Hour"  Video  Selah  (Includes an eclectic mix)

"Sweet Hour Of Prayer"  Video  George Beverly Shea  
Instrumental version  

"Give Me Jesus"  Video  Fernando Ortega  Includes some very touching video clips from the funeral service for Ruth Bell Graham.  It shows you the power of prayer in a woman whose life was fully devoted to God.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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