RECAP: HONEST PRAYER based on Luke 18:9-14
It is common for us as human beings to ask if God hears our prayers. How do we know God is listening to our prayers and are moved by them? How do we know everything is worth it? In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus is clear as to whose prayer is heard by God.
Jesus wants us to be like the tax collector, whose prayer was simple, yet filled with complete honesty. What can we learn from him?
1) Recognize our unworthiness. The tax collector knew exactly who he was in comparison to a holy God. He did not take the time to compare himself to others in the temple, although I am certain he would have felt out of place, for tax collectors were well despised by their own people and by the Romans. Rather, the tax collector understood who he was, and who God was, and recognized that he was not worthy. Instead of coming up front and center for all to see, he stood at a distance, signifying the distance he felt from the community and from God himself. But in being present, he was honest with his state, willing to risk exposure because he knew God was the only solution.
2) Broken and contrite. The tax collector was completely broken and contrite. He could not even look up to heaven because of the gravity of his sins, and he beat his breast in disgust of himself. Yet in this brokenness, he still poured out his heart before God. For when we are broken, we set aside all pride. When we are contrite, we give room for the Spirit to work in our lives.
3) Admit our need. The tax collector’s prayer was sweet and simple: “Lord, have mercy on me, for I am a sinner.” He recognized that above everything else, he needed mercy from God. He did not deserve anything except judgment, condemnation, and damnation. Yet, he asked for mercy from God, for he knew he had sinned. And in this declaration of need, he opened the door of his heart for repentance, and for the Spirit to work and restore only that which he could do. When we are willing to admit our needs openly before God, we give God a verbal yes to his work, opening the door of our hearts for God to work!
4) Humility. The tax collector did not view himself more highly than he should but submitted himself under the mercy of God. And when we are humble and honest before the Lord, we will see God lift us up and transform us from the inside out!
Don’t be like the Pharisee! It is so easy to fall into the trap:
1) Of self-righteousness. It is easy to think of ourselves as good and above correction. And in so doing we become the standard of what is right and good instead of God’s holiness.
2) Of inflated ego. The Pharisee thanked God openly in front of everyone that he was so good and perfect. “Lord I thank you I am not like other people,” he prayed. But we are all like other people–we all need a Savior and we all need Jesus!
3) Of comparison. The Pharisee compared himself to the flaws of everyone else around, including the tax collector. When we compare like this, we are blind to our own faults and failures and justify ourselves, because we are “not as bad as” everyone else!
4) Of bragging. The Pharisee stated his pedigree and his case for why God should honor his prayer–he tithed, and he fasted regularly. But God is not impressed with our deeds; he cares about our hearts.
All these characteristics kept the Pharisee blind to his true need and status before God. But the tax collector, despite his sin, was honest about his state before God. Jesus said the tax collector stood justified before God. So let us be honest and open, telling God exactly where we are and allow him to do what he does best!
Questions for Reflection
1) How do you view yourself in comparison to others? To God?
2) Do you struggle with pride? Or are you able to remain humble before God?
3) What area of your life is your greatest struggle? Have you confessed it to God?
4) Which trap of the Pharisee do you find yourself being pulled toward? How can you break it?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the study in the disciplines of prayer and fasting with the sermon titled, “Powerful and Effective”, based on James 5:13-20. What is the key to effective prayer? And can any person access this? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for February 14 – 20
February 14: 1 Samuel 1:1-20 What was Hannah’s prayer?
February 15: 2 Samuel 7:18-29 What was David’s prayer?
February 16: 1 Kings 8:22-61 What was Solomon’s prayer?
February 17: 1 Kings 17:17-24 What was Elijah’s prayer?
February 18: 1 Kings 18:30-46 What was Elijah’s prayers?
February 19: 2 Kings 6:8-23 What was Elisha’s prayer?
February 20: 2 Kings 19:14-19 What was Hezekiah’s prayer?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, February 15–Ministry Team @ 7 pm
Thursday, February 16–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Sunday, February 19–Outreach Team Meeting after service
Monday, February 20–Timothy Bible Study @ 7 pm
Sunday, February 26–Birthday dinner
Friday, March 17–Community movie night @ 7 pm
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.
- Petition. In this type of prayer, you offer up to God your specific needs. It is good to focus on all four major areas of your life: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. Remember, you are asking God for your daily bread, to meet your needs in those areas.
- Intercession. This is where you pray on behalf of the needs of others. You can use the prayer list at church as a guide and pray for each individual’s needs. If you know of a family going through a tough time, you can ask God for intervention. The goal of intercession is to help stand in prayer for someone else, even if they are unable to pray for themselves.
- Declaration. Declaration goes hand-in-hand with petition and intercession. When you practice this time of prayer, you are declaring the very Word of God over your own specific need or the needs of another. It is asking to open in the physical what is already true in the spiritual. This comes from Matthew 16:19–“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This is asking for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is coupled with faith because it is believing something we cannot yet see.
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 three 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.
The hope is that as we build our children’s ministry, more young families will want to participate in the church.
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
Eddie Baker (health)
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)
Lynne Lent (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Susan Miller family (loss)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Roger Simmons (health; remember Nancy too)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (house)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Cindy Wittig (surgery)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church