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Prayer for our Nation

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“Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”*

NDOP

On this National Day of Prayer 2016, I want to encourage you to pray for our government leaders – national, state and local.  Pray also for our citizens – that we be a people desiring God’s authority in our land.

Ascension

Note also that today is “Ascension Thursday” in the liturgical calendar of the Church.  On this day, we remember that our Lord is not dead, nor is He “gone.”  He has ascended – body, soul & spirit – in all His divinity and humanity – into heaven.  As you are lifting your prayers to heaven today, and every day, remind yourselves that they do not fall on deaf ears… the same Lord Jesus Christ that has made it possible for you to have access to the Father in prayer, will one day return, setting all things right, and making all things new.  May it be in HIS Name that you pray!

In prayer with you,

Pastor Augie

*Prayer #225 Responsible citizenship, Lutheran Service Book

Giving a Reason for Our Hope

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“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”  – 1 Peter 3:15

In church, we talked about sharing our faith in winsome and effective ways.  A quick review:

When witnessing, we should always keep in mind …

  1. Our Attitude – we should be reaching out to them in love, as the father does in the parable of the Prodigal Son.  We also need to realize that sometimes people are antagonistic to Christians because they have some underlying pain. We need compassion.
  2. Share the Truth, not clever arguments – it’s the Word of God that convicts and converts souls, not our legalism, philosophy, or debate skills.  We are in a spiritual battle, not a battle of wits.
  3. Be Humble – Not only does God oppose the proud (1 Peter 5:5), but puffed up arrogance gets us nowhere.  If we can remember that we are just as in need of God’s grace and mercy as they are, that will help
  4. Be Winsome – there is a spiritual “harvest” that is ready (Matthew 9:37), but every soul is not ready for the harvest.  Some need more time.  We must recognize different stages of spiritual growth, and guide people along to take the next step.
  5. Intercede for Them – if you don’t pray for them, who will?  And remember … before you talk to that person about God, talk to God about that person.

These are great things to keep in mind as we prepare to give a reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ!

I am praying for you as you share your faith!  May God make you bold, and open the hearts and minds of the people you are praying for, and reaching out to.  May it be for HIS Glory!

– Pastor Augie.

Q&A: Why Do We Pray “If It Be Your Will?”

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Q: I have a relative who would like to know where in the Bible it says, “God Willing.”  Why do we say that when we pray?

A: There are others, but here are two significant places in the Bible where we are encouraged to pray according to God’s Will:

  • “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
  • “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

When we pray, we pray for God’s Will.  Jesus both instructed us to do that in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6), but He also modeled it when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:42).  Sometimes people will say that we weaken the prayer by adding the word “if” … but Jesus, himself did it.  Furthermore, we are not praying “if you can do it, God” … because we know He can do all things.  What we are praying is “if it be your will” … meaning that we do not see all things like God does, and we do not presuppose to have all knowledge.  It is entirely possible that God’s will is different than what we desire – we are sinful, weak and selfish.  Wouldn’t it be better to receive what is God’s will, rather than the desire of our sinful heart?

Blessings,

Pastor Augie

P.S.  Praying “if it be your will, Lord” is actually similar to praying “in Jesus’ Name” … since God can’t do anything in the name of Jesus, that is contrary to His will.