Spiritual Discipline // PRAYER
Each Thursday we are being called into prayer. Every day is the day to pray for Christians, but we as a church are giving particular attention to prayer on Thursdays. Thank you for joining with us. Today, I (Isaac) want to ask us to pay special attention to what Chris preached on Sunday: when our backs are against the wall—we pray.
Read Nehemiah 4:4
4 Then I prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! 5 Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders.Nehemiah 4:4, NLT
What does Nehemiah do in the face of opposition? He prays. What is tempting for us to do when we face opposition? We lash out. We complain. We blame others. We shrink. We gossip. All of these are understandable; but for the Christian our first chess move is ALWAYS prayer. By praying first we admit we do not have all the answers. We admit we are submitted to God’s will and God’s ways in every situation. We want to move towards silence or violence – Jesus invites us to pray.
The Ice Storm last week sent me into a bit of a funk. I was awoken in the middle of the night and as I listened to the cracks and crashes of trees all over my neighborhood, I could feel a depression moving over me. I was sent into a state of numbness. Between the pandemic, fires and now ice, we have all endured so much! As I surveyed the damage on my property, the church property and scrambled (yet again) to patch together a church service to be delivered (yet again) online, I worked hard. On Saturday evening I fell into a restless sleep and then Sunday morning I grumpily watched church online (weird to watch myself preach—particularly with others in the room).
After church I pulled on my grubby clothes and stumbled outside to begin the clean up effort.
While dealing with this most recent opposition (in my head) I did all of the things Chris listed above: I lashed out, I complained, I blamed…
The hard work was good for me and as the day progressed I worked through my melancholy. In retrospect, I can see that I didn’t go to prayer soon enough. I wish I would have. Maybe you’re feeling glum or down. Maybe you’re discouraged. Take it from me—go to prayer sooner and don’t wait until later.
- Name the opposition you feel in your life today. You might be mocking yourself for daring to trust God. Or, you could be being oppressed again by temptations that won’t give up on you. Name them.
- Now, think about the ways you are tempted to react. Chris named a few: complaining, lashing out, blaming others, shrinking back or gossiping.
- Finally, reject your typical (immature) reaction and move towards prayer.