February 2016

‘Bold prayers honour God, and God honours bold prayer.’

In the opening chapters of his book ‘The Circle Maker’ Mark Batterson challenges us to consider how we are praying to God. In particular he asks whether our prayers are big enough and bold enough. Knowing that we have a God who is our loving Heavenly Father who is absolutely for us, what is to stop us from bringing the biggest and boldest dreams of our hearts before Him in prayer. Surely anything less would be insulting.

The scriptural example Batterson uses is when the walls of Jericho fell. (Joshua 6). In the narrative Joshua is leading the Israelites into the promised land, beginning the fulfilment of a four hundred year old promise, and the first city they come across is Jericho. Joshua gives his warriors somewhat strange instruction. They are not to build battering rams, or erect towers to scale the walls: instead they are to walk around the walls of Jericho in silence. Only the rams horns are to be blown. I wonder, is this the first example of prayer walking? I also wonder what the Israelite soldiers  must have been thinking or praying as they walked around these large walls in silence? What is wonderful about the story is that for their victory they were totally dependent upon an act of God which brought down the walls on the seventh day when the whole community let out a battle cry. They weren’t trying to achieve results in their own strength but waited on God’s move. Batterson says, ’Prayers have the potential to change history’ and this was certainly the case for Jericho.

What is your Jericho?

In the transition of Ian Parkinson leaving and myself being installed as the new vicar on March 9th, I have found this a very helpful yet challenging question. In particular, I have begun to ask, What are our biggest and boldest dreams that we have at All Saints’ Marple and for the communities which we serve? What are the promises of God that he wants us to press into, to circle around and with perseverance press into? What are the hopes we have for a God shaped future? These are big and challenging questions!

However, ‘If faith is being sure of what we hope for, then being unsure of what we hope for is the antithesis of faith.’[1] To this aim I know there are certain things I am praying for:

  1. As we go through this term my prayer is that we will deepen our relationship with God. We will prioritise our time to spend with God both in the reading of his word and in praying and encountering God as we worship together.
  1. I pray that our love for each other will grow. That as we offer hospitality, serve and journey in faith together that our fellowship will grow deeper and that this would be a sign to the world of God’s love.
  1. I pray that as we embrace the plans God has for us that we would carry his presence out into our work places and to our families and friends that we share life with.
  1. I pray that God will bless us to be bold to share the story of our faith both in truth and by the power of the Holy Spirit and that many others would come to know God for themselves.
  1. I pray that by the power of God’s Holy Spirit He will transform our lives and set us free from anything that entangles them. That God would be free to shape and transform us and bring out an increased fruitfulness in our lives.
  1. I pray that we would demonstrate more of Christ’s compassion for this world. Responding to the many problems we are confronted by with a generosity of our love and resources.
  1. I pray that we would have more workers for the harvest and the resources we need to do God’s Kingdom work.

I hope you will join me in circling these seven areas in prayer and that the story of our church will be one that will bring ever more glory to Christ and blessing to our community and world.

Every blessing in Christ,

Daniel.

 

[1] Mark Batterson (2011) The Circle Maker: Zondervan

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