RECAP: PERSISTENT AND FOCUSED based on Luke 11:1-13
Way back in 2003, when I was doing a senior project for my undergraduate degree at Valley Forge, I did a study on the discipline of prayer. What I found at that time in a Barna study was alarming: the average Christian in the United States prays less than one minute a day! It is not much better for pastors, who average only five minutes a day! Yet, when we look at our Lord and Savior, he was constantly immersed in prayer.
Do we believe in the power of prayer? Do we believe in the effectiveness of prayer? Do we even know how to pray?
The disciples wanted to learn from Jesus how to pray. Prior to his death and resurrection, they struggled. But after Jesus rose from the dead, the apostles became people devoted to prayer, and they turned the whole world upside down. How can we have an effective prayer? How do we know God will hear our prayers? What better place to start than to go to what Jesus directly taught his disciples!
- Pray with the right priorities (11:2-4). The Lord’s prayer teaches us that we need to pray with a correct focus. Instead of asking for our kingdom to come and for God to submit to us, we ask for God’s kingdom to come and will to be done in our midst. We honor he is in heaven on the throne. We recognize he is the king, and he does not answer to us! Pray, asking for God to meet our daily needs, not our wants. Pray for spiritual freedom, both from sin and temptation as well as bitterness which is a result of unforgiveness. Both are prisons that can capture and rob us of life.
- Pray with boldness (11:5-8). Jesus then gave a parable to the disciples to illustrate the power of boldness. A man was in need because he had a late arriving guest. The fact that he did not prepare was irrelevant; what was relevant was that despite his error, he boldly went to his neighbor at a late hour to ask for food. Eventually, the neighbor gave in because of his boldness. God wants us to come to him with boldness. Are we willing to ask God boldly for what we need? To not ask is essentially to declare we do not believe God is able. But when we come with boldness, God answers in bold ways!
- Pray with persistence (11:9-10). Jesus, continuing on the theme of boldness, turned to persistence. He encourages us to ask, seek, and knock, for the one who asks will receive, the one who seeks will find, and the one who knocks will find an open door. But the Greek here does not imply a one-time action, but rather a continuous action (continuous imperfect). The one who receives, finds, and has an open door is the one who keeps coming in prayer, who keeps asking, seeking, and knocking!
- Pray with trust (11:11-13). Jesus said that healthy earthly fathers know how to provide for their children, even with sin in their lives. A good parent would never give their child something dangerous when they asked for something good. How much more will God give us something good! Do we trust that God has our good at heart? Do we believe that God is not out to get us, but to help us find eternity in him? He promises the gift of the Holy Spirit, his enduring presence to be with us every step of our lives if we are in him!
If we pray with the right priorities, boldness, persistence, and trust, we will see God answer our prayers! Do we believe that God answers prayer?
Questions for Reflection
1) Do you need a priority alignment? What would you say is the area of your life that is the most difficult to align under God? Why is it difficult? Can it be something that could be turned over to God?
2) How bold are you in prayers? If not, what is holding you back? Release it to God!
3) How persistent are you in prayer? Do you believe God will answer your prayers?
4) Do you trust God? If not, why is it hard to trust?
God sees us where we are, and thankfully we have much opportunity to grow in him!
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the study in the disciplines of prayer and fasting with the sermon titled, “Honest and Committed”, based on Luke 18:1-14. Why is it important to be honest and committed in our prayers? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for February 7 – 13
February 7: Exodus 32:30-33:6 What was Moses’ persistent prayer?
February 8: Exodus 33:12-23 What was Moses’ prayer?
February 9: Numbers 14:10-39 What was Moses’ prayer?
February 10: Joshua 10:1-15 What was Joshua’s prayer?
February 11: Judges 6 What as Gideon’s persistent prayer?
February 12: Judges 11:29-39 What was Jephthah’s prayer?
February 13: Judges 16:23-31 What was Samson’s prayer?
This Week’s Events:
No women’s fellowship meeting today!
Tuesday, February 7–LT Preparation Meeting @ 6 pm
Monday, February 13–Timothy Bible Study @ 7 pm
Wednesday, February 15–Ministry Team @ 7 pm
Thursday, February 16–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Sunday, February 26–Birthday dinner
Prayer / Spiritual Discipline Challenge
Part of the reason we struggle with prayer is that we don’t know exactly how to pray. When I was younger, I was blessed to participate in an hour of prayer. Each hour was divided up into twelve five-minute sessions of prayer with a specific focus. Over this month, I will give three sections a week until you have all twelve that you can practice on your own.
- Prayed Scripture. Turn to the book of Psalms. Many of them were indeed songs, but also prayers. Choose one or two Psalms, read the Scriptures silently, and then read aloud. It is best to choose a passage that is relatable to where you are in life at that moment in time.
- Thanksgiving. Take several minutes to give thanks to God for all the ways you have seen him work in your life, bless you or your family, or within members of the church or community. Do not hold back in giving thanks! Thanksgiving is actually one of the most crucial pieces of prayer! Jesus wants us to be like the one who returned when he was healed with a thankful heart. And the more we give thanks to God, the more it strengthens our faith so we believe God to do even more in our lives.
- Praise. Take time in your prayer to sing to the Lord songs of what he has done. Praise him for also who he is. When our focus is on the power and strength of God, it increases our boldness to ask for bigger things in his name!
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Phyllis Simmons (children’s story).
On Sunday, February 26, we will have our annual birthday dinner carry-in after church. If you would like to make a cake for a month, please sign up in the narthex! We still need volunteers for four cakes.
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for six to eight volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour and church hour. There will be a signup sheet in the back. If you would be willing to volunteer to allow our families to be able to participate in worship, please let one of the members of Christian Education know (Theresa Eckard, Scott McAvoy, Becky Whitmore), or sign up on the signup sheet!
The Christian Education team would like to relaunch children’s church for our kids, as well as for the kids in our community without a church home. To be successful, we need six to eight volunteers who would be willing to give up one Sunday either a month or every other month to minister to our children. If you are interested, please let one of Christian Education know, email the church office, or sign up on the sign-up sheet on Sunday.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
Sandy Bennington (peace)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (house)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church