Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Old Testament Prayer”

Prayer

Oh boy! The first month of my internship at Tates Creek we are talking about the Holy Spirit, then my second month we will be talking about prayer. What did I get myself into?

Prayer is an amazing thing, isn’t it? Prayer is a CONVERSATION with God. I remember when I was little, my parents had me pray all of the time. I used to pray the best prayer and use the biggest words I could to amaze people with how “spiritual” I was. And you know what, I was good at it too. Isn’t that terrible? It was like having a presentation “to” God for the purpose of glorifying me. It was not a CONVERSATION with God.

To be honest, I do that sometimes even today. When I was a senior in High School at Martha Layne Collins in Shelbyville, I got to pray for my high school graduation (which may or may not have been illegal because it was a public school but we decided to run with it anyway). For some reason, the prayer I prayed at the graduation was probably the worst prayer I have ever prayed in my life. After the graduation my dad asked me, “what was that all about?” Looking back on that day, the reason why it was an awful prayer was because I was presenting. I wanted everybody to see how good a prayer I could pray instead of having a conversation with my Heavenly Father. That story reminds me a lot of the story in Luke 18 with the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee prayed where everybody could see him and thanked God that he wasn’t a sinner. The Tax Collector beat his breast saying, “have mercy on me, God, for I am a sinner” Luke 18:13. Jesus said that the tax collector left justified. So in prayer with me, do as the Tax Collector did and put God in his rightful place as ruler over everything, even your heart, and put yourself in the rightful place as a sinner saved by grace through faith.

Conor Doyle

Model Prayer

At 6:09 every day, an alarm goes off on my phone. The alarm is set to remind me to say The Lord’s Prayer, which is in Matthew 6:9-13.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”

At Christ in Youth the summer of 2012, our speaker challenged us to do this task and I have been doing it ever since. Sometimes it’s really easy to get caught up in this motion and not think about what I am really praying; to just absentmindedly rattle off these beautiful words day after day. I often have to remind myself that I am talking to the creator and ruler of the entire universe, even if it is a scripted and repeated prayer. Since this realization, I have discovered a new love for these words. The Lord’s Prayer is a God-given model of what our own personal prayers should look like. It is a prayer so beautiful that it is approved by God; it is the most perfect prayer. Now my heart fills with gratitude as I have the privilege of saying these words to the Lord every day. I will never get tired of repeating these words.

Ellie Mullins

David’s Prayers

As we focus on Old Testament prayers in this issue, we literally have hundreds of choices, but I have chosen David. Our GIFT group just completed an overview study of the Psalms and we find many prayers in this book. Although David did not write all of the psalms, he was the primary author and he offers a wide variety of prayers. There are prayers of praise, petition, confession, help and protection, and those of hope and trust.
As we know, David’s life was certainly not perfect! In fact, his sinful behavior is well-known especially when it comes to Bathsheba. He really disappointed God in many ways, but God used him in spite of his faults, just as God uses us. Even as a young brave man taking on Goliath, being a faithful shepherd, serving as king, etc., we see how God used him.
I especially like the prayer of David in Psalm 51. This psalm has been set to music in many forms through hymns, contemporary songs, and choral music. In fact, one of my favorite choir anthems, Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God, has become a favorite of our Worship Choir. In this psalm, we find David petitioning for help from God and also confessing his sin against God.
David begins this prayer by asking for mercy. Then he asks for cleansing. The prayer continues with an acknowledgment of his sin and that David recognizes his sin has been against God. He asks for cleansing again! He then prays for God to create a clean heart and to renew him. He prays to have the Holy Spirit within. After all of these requests, David then changes direction as he asks for restoration so that he will have a willing spirit to teach the ways of God to others who have transgressed. He prays to have his mouth opened to express his sincere praise to God. David closes this particular prayer by listing what God truly wants from us…a broken spirit and contrite heart. In other words, he knows that he needs to give up his selfish desires and yield to the desires of God.
This is a great prayer and one that we all need to pray ourselves. In fact, many times we fret over how to pray and for what we should pray. I find that simply praying through the prayers in Scripture pretty much covers it all! Why not start with Psalm 51!

Don Seevers

Humility in Prayer – Luke 18:9-14

Do you know who it is that you are praying to? When you kneel next to your bed, sit at the dinner table, give praise for avoiding an accident, or gather together with your brothers and sisters in a prayer circle, do you fully understand who it is you are going to share your words with?
I watched a video of a man named Louie Giglio speaking a couple years ago. His sermon was entitled “How Great Is Our God.” Before his talk his friend Chris Tomlin wrote a song matching the title of the sermon. In the sermon, Louie compares our earth to a golf ball. Then, through a series of mathematical equations he explains to those watching how small we really are. He even uses a phrase repeatedly, “If earth were a golf ball, can you find yourself on it.” As the talk goes on he shows how many earth sized golf balls fit into our solar system, the sun, and my personal favorite Canus Majoris– The Big Dog. The challenge then is to find the one earth sized golf ball you are on and then find yourself.
When I picture something like this I am greatly humbled. I love to think of God as my closest friend and companion. Someone I can walk around with and talk to, but like friendships sometimes this is taken for granted. To be honest, sometimes I get so comfortable with my image of God that I forget who it really is I am talking to. Sometimes we even try to talk to God like he might not understand us or we try to impress him with our big words. In fact, sometimes our prayers become about us drawing attention to ourselves.
In those moments I found myself thinking back to the parable Jesus tells about a Pharisee and a tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. I picture the Pharisee swiping the area around him with his long robe to make a space big enough for his ego and clearing his throat to draw in the crowd. His words are poetic, but spiritually empty. Then, comes the tax collector. Embarrassed of his actions from the day, humbled to be present before the Lord. His head is down and he tries hard to convince himself that he isn’t worthy to even offer a prayer. Out of his broken heart through his mouth comes these simple words, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Jesus closes the story by explaining that the humble will be exalted. When you pray, do you recognize who it is that you pray to? Before you start next time, I challenge you to spend a few extra moments in a position of great humility.

Matt Lee

Nehemiah’s Prayer

I will be the first to admit that I am not the best with prayer. Do I pray, of course! I pray all day long. But my prayers are short. They don’t come easily to me, and I have a hard time trying to express what is on my heart and mind. God knows, sure, but to pray we must communicate with Him, not just assume he knows what we want, and we must do so on a daily basis.
Throughout the Old Testament, we find men asking God for help in a time of great need. Sometimes these prayers are quite lengthy, but I love the example from the life of Nehemiah. It shows that a prayer doesn’t always need to be long to be effective. Nehemiah was cupbearer to Artaxerxes, and appeared before the king looking downhearted (a big “no-no”). When the king asked him why he was so upset, he was afraid, but he overcame it and told the king about the desolate state of Jerusalem. The king asked him what he wanted. Nehemiah records what he did in the instant before he replied
“So I prayed to the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 2:4
This was not the panicked prayer of one who never speaks to God (unless he is in trouble). Nehemiah 1 shows us that he was already in close communion with God, and could trust Him in all circumstances. At this moment, when he had to say the right thing, in the right way, in a short amount of time, he asked for and obtained the help of his God. We can learn from this too; when we need help quickly, whether it be with a quick answer or decision, we can ask God, and he will be there. We must remember to always be in contact with Him.

Lesley Tipton

Prayer in the Day of Social Media

One of the most interesting things that has happened with social media is how it is increasingly used as an outlet for feelings. Whenever a student is frustrated with school, life, friends, family, or even themselves, the main outlet is on social media. A cryptic tweet, sad photo on Instagram, or a plea for someone to “please text” put out on SnapChat. The idea behind it is that placing these feelings online will be a release and let friends know to check in.

Of course, needing an outlet for feelings isn’t something new to this day and age. Finding healthy outlets for our feelings has been an issue for humanity from the start. Social media just makes it easier to broadcast a down mood in search of support. But where do we go for our primary outlet, whether we are active tweeters or we use other ways to release our negative emotions?
For the psalmists, meeting God in worship is the primary place to release their frustration and hurt. In Psalm 73 the psalmist’s frustration with his life compared to the good fortune of evil people frames the complaint. “All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” Psalm 73:13 (ESV). This would be a natural thought to post on social media today, but the psalmist gained a new perspective when he went to worship rather than to complain to others.

“…until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end…My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:17, 26 (ESV)

In joining with the great prayers of the Old Testament, we can lay out all our frustrations before God, from the mundane to the deep longings of our hearts. The psalmists call on us to trust God’s hearing. He will be our emotional outlet and will carry us through our darkness.

Brad Haggard

Persistent Prayer – Luke 18:1-8

Hydrated Fire!

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Elijah at Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal. Picture the worst President we have ever had in the history of the United States and multiply that by 5 and you have King Ahab. King Ahab reigned over Israel at the time of Elijah and Ahab had allowed other gods to “come into” the nation of Israel to be worshipped. Not only did he allow it, but he welcomed it. As you can imagine, God was not very happy about this and neither was Elijah. So Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to a fire ball contest on top of the mountain. As the story goes, the prophets of Baal pray and get no response at all… (According to Elijah, Baal must have been using the restroom.) After the failure of the prophets of Baal finished, Elijah commanded water to be poured on the alter multiple times and prays a prayer that has spoken to me since I was little.

1 Kings 18:36b-37 “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.”

Fire consumed the alter and swallowed up the water!
Have you ever prayed and fire came down from Heaven? Neither have I! But what I do know is that the God Elijah served is the same God that we serve. The same God who heard the prayer of Elijah hears our prayers today. Let us be a praying church that has confidence when we pray, because of the God we serve.

Conor Doyle

God Stories

When I was about ten years old my family moved from Madison, Indiana, to a small town about an hour north called Arlington. My father was the new Senior Minister of the Arlington Christian Church. We were all mostly excited about the new possibilities in front of us, but when we moved from Madison we had to leave our horses back on our farm and hope that God would allow us to find land in our new town to eventually bring them too. We had a neighbor that was going to care for the horses while we were away so we were at peace with leaving them. We found a piece of land and contacted the owner about purchasing, but this was not an option. Then, one day a bus driver called us from Madison and told us that our neighbor hadn’t been feeding the animals. We reached out to some new friends in Arlington and made fast plans to relocate the horses to a small property. A few months later, we had to have a hard conversation as a family. We needed God to provide land for our horses that was affordable for our family. That night we gathered together as a family and decided to put our requests before God with a fleece. Our fleece– “Lord, please provide land for our horses by tomorrow OR we will begin selling our horses and follow the new direction you have for us.” The result– the next day we were contacted by the gentleman we had contacted earlier about the land. He offered us the land at half the price.
I am pretty sure I could fill this entire newsletter with stories like that of times we have taken our needs and requests to God and watched him provide in incredible ways. My sister-in-law learned she was very sick so we prayed for healing. We prayed as a family and the next day she was healed. Terah and I felt led to adopt, but we couldn’t afford it on one income. We prayed and God took us on an incredible journey for 3 1/2 years, raising nearly $50,000 all outside of our income. Throughout my life these stories have become my testimony.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
In children’s ministry, I have been richly blessed to hear the hearts of children through their prayers. A few years ago, I started keeping all of the children’s prayer requests on Sundays. Some of them were heartbreaking as they asked God to make their dads play with them more or for their loved ones to be safe in heaven. Others, I didn’t know how to guide them through as they asked God for new siblings when their parents were definitely not in agreement.
So, here’s my question of the day. When you are in need of an answer, direction for your life, peace in the Spirit, or unity in your family, who do you turn to for answers? I choose to turn to the one I have seen do amazing things and let Him write my story!

Matt Lee

Prayers of Old

When I sat down to write this month’s article on Prayer in the Old Testament I moaned a little bit about the topic. I must say this looked, at first thought, like one of the most obscure assignments of them all. “Prayer in the Old Testament?” In the midst of my moaning, however, my thoughts went back to something Wayne Shaw said at the recent Senior Saints In the Smokies program. He talked about the fact that the Bible, from start to finish, speaks about the great commission. He said God’s plan and purpose, from Genesis to Revelation, has been that the lost would be saved. As I thought about it and applied Dr. Shaw’s thought, I realized that prayer has been humanity’s privilege from Genesis to Revelation. In 61 of the 66 books that comprise our Bible, this privilege of speaking to God is either addressed or actually practiced, and many if not most of those times were in the Old Testament. We should not think that since Jesus taught us how to pray in the midst of the Beatitudes it was something new. Quite the contrary, some of the greatest prayers that have been lifted up came from the lips of Old Testament characters and in the midst of Old Testament circumstances. In fact, they are some of our greatest examples of prayer that demonstrate how great a privilege this is for humanity. Prayers in the Old Testament address things such as help in the time of trouble, strength in the time of weakness, wisdom in the time of confusion, and a whole host of other times of petition and praise. One is uttered by Moses on behalf of a sinful people and is recorded in Exodus 32. God was ready to destroy the stubbornly sinful people but Moses intervened on their behalf. This prayer that Moses uttered is a window into the work that Jesus actually did for us, a yet stubbornly sinful people. His prayer was an intervention between the wrath of God and sinful humanity just as Jesus life and sacrificial act was for all humanity. A second prayer is a window into the privilege we have because of what Christ accomplished. Psalm 51 records David’s prayer of repentance as he prayed “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.” This Old Testament prayer is a window into our greatest privilege. That is to approach God’s throne of grace through prayer and find forgiveness there. In hind sight, there is nothing obscure in the fact that God had given this great privilege to humanity since the beginning when man first fell. The question is, do we all realize the great and precious privilege we have yet today?

Kim Beckwith

Prayer and Praise – II Chronicles 20

I am privileged to write to you about an exciting Scripture in the Old Testament, II Chronicles 20. In this chapter, we learn a lot about prayer from the lips of King Jehoshaphat. He has his priorities in the right order as he prays to the Lord. Why do I make that statement? I believe this to be so because the main focus of his prayer is to praise God!
Have you ever been in a prayer meeting where someone prays on and on with a long list of requests and needs? (By the way, that was a rhetorical question!) Of course, we all have. The person goes on and on with this prayer and many times nothing has changed on the list. Somewhere along our journey, we have become focused on what we need or want rather than praising God.
In II Chronicles 20:6-12, we find that Jehoshaphat spends most of his time praising God for who He is and what He has already done. It is a powerful prayer focusing on how God has taken care of them and even if calamity comes upon them, they will stand in the temple that bears God’s name and He will hear them and save them. That is a prayer of confidence! Only then does Jehoshaphat make his plea for help and even in this plea he praises God for His power and admits his weakness by saying “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You”. Wow! That is a powerful prayer. So many times, we come up with a plan, then pray to God to “bless” that plan. Obviously, this is faulty theology and we can learn a lot about how to pray through this fantastic prayer.
Following this prayer, Jahaziel stood before the king and stated: “Listen King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ ” Then he gives the Lord’s instructions in verses 16-17. Space will not permit me to give all the details, but they were victorious as their enemies ended up destroying each other in battle! Read the rest of the story.
I am glad that our hymnal (# 485) includes a song based on verse 15. Stanza 1 reads: “In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land, the battle belongs to the Lord! No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand, the battle belongs to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord!”

Don Seevers

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