Friday, February 03, 2006

Small groups are a wonderful thing. Churches that have developed the small group concept with their people are growing and stronger as a body. I know we have appreciated our small group at FBC so much. Even though we've just been at First Baptist for a little over a year now, we feel closer to many of the people because of the connection our small group has. The time that our small group has taken with each other every week has been a huge blessing. When my mom came to the hospital and again to the calling and funeral, she commented about our friends. She has not lived close to us our whole marriage, so she had no idea what wonderful friends we have been privileged to have, not only at FBC but at Northside as well.

Last night in small group, we discussed prayer. A basic in a Christian's life. Communication with the Father. Well, I got a little spirited talking about it because it is the crux of our relationship with Jesus. The author of the book we are studying says that prayer takes effort and is a discipline. O.K. I do understand that it takes time to purposefully pray, to make it a habit and to make it part of your routine. It takes away from our busy schedules to go, go, go and do, do, do wherever it is we are going and whatever it is we are doing that is oh so important. I'd rather quote the author who says "too busy NOT to pray."

I guess the sad reality is that many Christians do not take the time to simply talk to God. Or if they do, it is a list of requests and not a heart to heart, day by day occurrence.

To me prayer is as natural as breathing. I don't think I would make it an hour without talking to my God. I make plenty of mistakes and I need Him to help me in future circumstances. I need God to help me live in grace as I give grace.
I need God to help me be joyful. I need Him to help me fight the voices of darkness that pull me to be annoyed and jealous and want me to give in to the grouch.

Realizing our need. Is that the key?

This Proverb speaks to that: Prov. 26:12 "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

I've been listening to scripture on my drives to and from school. A mother's day present last year. Right now I'm in Isaiah. I got to my favorite chapter today. A passage of scripture that was quoted to us quite often in the hospital, but I never tire of hearing it.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.


Another great old testament quote on prayer: 2 Chronicles 7:14
If My people who are called by My name
will humble themselves and pray
and seek My face
and turn from their wicked ways
I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.


Oh merciful, sovereign God, help us to see the error of our ways. Take the scales off our eyes so that we may see You more clearly. May we seek You and not our own path. Help us recognize our sin and turn away from it! Strengthen us Father as You have promised. Help us not only make time for You, help us to make You the reason we live and breathe.

I thank you Father that You WANT to hear from us. Thank you for Your patience with us.
Mom

9 Comments:

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN!!!!!!!!

 
At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Brittany Di Salvo said...

Thankyoumom..thespacebarisntworkingandnothisisntajokehaha..but.i.do.apologize.
I_ask_for_you_to_pray_for_me..Today_on_the_way_to_school,_I_lost_it..I_cried_like_a_baby(no_kidding),_because_I'm_at_a_point_where_I've_never_been_before._I_have_no_idea_what_God's_doing,_and_there's_so_much_going_on_that_I'll_tell_you_about_when_I_have_a_functioning_spacebar._But_until_then,_I'm_praying_for_you_and_I_love_you_guys_a_lot.

something.i.wrote.that.i.wanted.to.share.with.you.about.where.i.am

is_it_a_sin_to_be_discouraged
is_it_a_crime_to_cry_in_churches
am_i_wrong_when_i_admit
that_i_am_running_out_of_breath

who_shows_the_freedom_to_be_honest
forget_pretending_to_be_flawless
we_lost_the_truth_in_being_real
when_empty_hands_have_nothing_left

would_your_arms_fold_if_my_heart_opened
would_you_listen_if_i_spoke_and
would_you_try_to_love_this_heart
when_i_admit_that_i'm_a_mess

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger the leaf family said...

Deeanna, Small groups are wonderful..The church that we attend here in Mo. is so great...
We have about 4000 that attend over a weekend and yet it seems so small.. I know that sounds a little odd. They have a great way of keeping small with small groups. Even our student ministry has small groups and home-groups.. They are wonderful and I have made some very good friends this way.

I learned about having daily conversations with God a few years ago when Crystal died and then more about the listening side in Alaska..
Thank You for sharing..
With all my love and prayers from-KC- today Tracy

 
At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mom, you're so right about the small group dynamic.

Prayer has been a topic of interest from a theological standpoint and a passionate practice of mine. I recently read an article from a professor, Daniel Henderson from Asbury Seminary:

"Another reason many of us do not experience the power of prayer is that we are content to live without it! Daniel Henderson writes that: “prayerlessness is my declaration of independence from God. In a Christian culture that has all the bells and whistles, a busy church can appear to live independent of the manifest presence and daily power of Jesus.” In the midst of a busy lifestyle we can find ourselves turning to the latest book, retreat, TV program, website or DVD for understanding, rest, intimacy and comfort. Or we can turn to Jesus in prayer. In Revelation, Jesus confronts the churches that had settled for this sleepy, lukewarm, self-sufficient condition. By His Spirit and through His Word, He helps them see the reality of their spiritual condition. Jesus calls them to honest assessment, repentance and a return to spiritual desire. Our deepest need is for a discontentment for the status quo and for an apathy-busting breakthrough of the Spirit which leaves us with a desire to desire, a thirst to thirst and a hunger to hunger."

That helped me to understand the resistance to prayer by some. (Is that only in my experience? It seems so odd that in a church setting so many are reluctant to pray aloud. Like it's only the priviledge/duty of the pastor?) He continues by pointing out that it is by the Holy Spirit we learn to pray. Something else I found "new" in my understanding. Anyway, I agree with your question, realizing our need for prayer drives us to our knees. We don't always see our need! "You say 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." Rev 3:17

It is indeed a mystery why the Creator wants to hear from us! And that He hears, understands, responds and re-directs events to our eternal benefit! Thanks for the insight today.
Mark
Hudson, Oh

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger *kim said...

Deanna, That is one of my favorite verses as well. I love Isaiah. Thank you for your post. Prayer has been a virtue of faith that I have always struggled to remain consistent in, but have been trying this year to be alot more focused on it. Your post was an encouragement to me. Love *kim

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger Barbara Ann said...

Thanks for that. Right now in my life Im juggling so much. I dont want to get overwhelmed with it, but you know how that goes. Its prayer that gets me through it.
I need it.
I think about all the prayer that happened this summer. How God said if only we ask, He will give. Oh, how we asked! And man how He gave.

So if you could, pray for me. I want God to be glorified in all things, all ways, through my schedule, through my life, through my words. I dont want to walk the line of having too much favor with people, but still showing grace and love from our Saviour.

I love you guys! Praying for you this week!

Barbara Ann

 
At 1:16 PM, Blogger Barbara Ann said...

Goodness, I just want to say again how much that was an encouragement to me! Thanks!

 
At 11:19 PM, Anonymous kristin dutt said...

hey guys--

I have found wonderful things happen in small groups. the best small group i've EVER been apart of, was my mom group in Peru. i love those girls.

The family that i mentioned earlier.. things are not looking well. He was rushed to surgery tonight.. and told them they didn't know how much longer he had. please continue to pray..
here's the website again.
www.teamexpansion.org/caring4mark

thanks! love you guys.

 
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