The Inside Column 22/4

Posted in: The Inside Column- Apr 22, 2012 No Comments

Good morning and a very warm welcome to all.

This week I attended the Diocese Leadership Conference at Lake Rotoiti and was struck again by the need for prayer in our lives and in the church.

The story of Jonah is a great example to us when it comes to looking at prayer.

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ “And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

Prayer plays a significant role in the story of Jonah. On three separate occasions people who are in trouble cry out to God—first the sailors on the ship, then Jonah in the belly of the fish, and finally in Chapter 3, the Ninevites cry out to God. In all three cases, God is quick to respond.

Most people would agree that prayer is a necessary part of a healthy life in God and a necessary part of the healthy life of a church.

I say that without prayer at the centre of our church life, we are wasting our time, each others time, and also God’s time. All prayer makes a difference, wherever you are. Prayer is the heart beat of the church, it simply has to be!

I encourage the church family to come to the Tuesday morning 7.00 am prayer meeting. If we long to see the people we love, our community and our nation transformed, it has to start with prayer.

“I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)

Yours in Christ
Phil

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