Keys of Effective Prayer

This week Pastor Ann will continue her series on the Kingdom of God.  She will be expanding on the Key of prayer as she takes us back to 1 John.   As we learn about prayer we discover that there are some basic rules for our prayers to be effective.  Prayer is an extremely powerful tool.  It is one of the keys that can open or shut the door of heaven, as Jesus said in Matt 16:19. 

There are two Keys we need in place to strengthen the Key of prayer.  The first is the Key of forgiveness.  Pastor Ann reminded us of the Lord’s prayer which says in part “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…” Matt. 6:12.  If we are unwilling to forgive others, or to seek forgiveness from others, our Father isn’t going to forgive us. 

The second Key is humility.  This is a difficult one for most of us.  Our culture no longer teaches this attribute as something desirable.  Humility  involves letting go of our pride and giving all the glory to God whenever we win. 

When we have forgiveness in our hearts alongside humility, our prayers become what they were meant to be.  Potent.  Powerful.  Pleasing to God.  They work to impact life on earth as we beg God to do something.  They release our dominion to Him, that “His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matt 6:10.

Pastor Ann will be bringing His message at the 10:55 worship service.  Please consider joining us in the sanctuary or on FB live-stream. 

Doorkeepers

What comes to your mind when someone says doorkeeper?  I see a middle aged gentleman in uniform, complete with cap and white gloves.  You know that image.  They are bastions in every large city, whether they stand at the door of an apartment/condo building or a fine hotel.  They guard the door.  They open it for those who should enter or wish to leave and bar it from those who are not recognized as belonging.

If you followed Pastor Ann’s sermon last Sunday, you’ll see right away where my imaginary doorman is wrong.  Can you see what might be right with that image?

WE, believers in Christ, are doorkeepers. This is an amazing, frightening prospect.  We hold the key to open or close the door to Jesus’ Kingdom.  This key is prayer.  When we pray, according to His will, we open the door and invite Him into the world.  We keep the door closed if prayer isn’t part of what we do.

We have the key.  We have access to the door.   We can choose to change the world by using that key, or we can continue to watch it disintegrate before our eyes. 

What choice will you make today?

What about prayer?

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t know how to pray “out loud.”  It’s made me wonder if they know how to pray at all.  Prayer based in faith is one of the most powerful tools we are given.  With prayer comes forgiveness, healing, growth, wisdom and peace.  Most of the folks I’ve met would like at least one of these, if not all.  I want them.

We need to learn what prayer is, when to pray, how to pray and why we pray.  Prayer is honest, heartfelt communication with God.  It is seeking Him.  Prayer can be praise for His creation, for His blessings, for His being.  It can be a request for something that we or another need.  Prayer can be private or corporate. We should pray when we’re celebrating and when we’re mourning.  We should pray when we get up and go to bed.  We should pray throughout our day as we consider all that is around us.

What prayer cannot be is empty words.  Jesus taught about prayer in Matthew 6. He stated plainly that shouting on the street corners and meaningless repetition were not the way to reach God.  Prayer that is without faith, without love of the Lord will not be heard, will not be answered.  Mark 11:22 tells us plainly what Jesus said. “Have faith in God.” In verse 24, He continues: “For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”

For further learning and clarification on the meaning and purpose of prayer, I encourage you to join us Sunday morning as Pastor Ann continues her sermon series on the Kingdom Keys.  If you can’t make it into the sanctuary, please consider the Facebook live-stream.

You Are Not Your Own

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

— 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In the contemporary world, the phrase “you are not your own” sounds almost offensive to many people from the post-modern culture. Advertisements keep telling us that we are the owners of our lives, we have to choose the best for ourselves first, and that nobody is allowed to tell us what to do with our bodies or our lives.

What is the apostle Paul trying to tell us in his epistle to the Corinthians and particularly in these verses? Why should we lose some of our freedom and trust our lives completely to God?

Often, people do not want to admit in the first place that they received their lives from God. The reason we exist, live, and breathe is because of the will of God. Even those who do not believe in God live on this planet because of His prevenient grace extended to the whole of creation. When Paul writes to the Corinthians, he reminds them that through the new covenant with God, they become a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. This means that Christians become a part of something much bigger than their individual lives.

In the Spirit, we are united with the rest of Christ’s body in this world.

In some sense, the Spirit creates an invisible net, connecting us to each other and guiding us toward the same goal, which God has ordained for the whole of humanity. When we live as if we are “not our own,” we allow God to use us as vehicles of His grace in this world to bring healing and restoration. 

Metaphorically speaking, we live in a spiritual ecosystem where the lives of all people are interrelated and interconnected. This system does not function as it was supposed to at the moment of creation because it is infected by sin. Through our united actions and prayers in His name, God transforms this world. The truth that we are “not our own” means we belong to the community of believers united by Christ, who bought us at a precious “price”; we belong to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us; we belong to God the Father who loves us.

Therefore, “not our own” actually means that we are not alone in this world. God cares for us, protects us, provides for us, and makes our lives meaningful. He helps us to join His mission and to understand the purpose for which we were created by Him: to bless all nations and bring them to God.

Prayer for the week:

Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding us that we belong to You. Thank You for protecting us in this world. Thank You for guiding us and filling us with Your Spirit. May Your will be done in our homes, in our churches, and in our countries. Show us the areas of our lives that need improvement, and lead us closer to You. Make us vehicles of Your grace. Amen.

Olga Druzhinina is a lecturer in theology for European Nazarene College and M-Power volunteer in Riga, Latvia.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something all of us want when we make a mistake or hurt another person.  What about when we are the one who is hurt?  How quickly are we willing to forgive? 

When a friend brings us their problem, pain or anger about another person, do we counsel them wisely regarding forgiveness?  Or do we sympathize with their situation without consideration for the other person?

Forgiveness isn’t easy.  Often it’s messy!  Frequently it’s painful, especially for our egos.  None of us wants to admit we are the party that is wrong, even when we are.  Many of us don’t want to let go of the anger and outraged feelings if we are the injured person. 

But we fail to realize that forgiveness brings freedom to us.  It takes us out of our pity party, that jail we create for ourselves.  It allows us to regain our focus on the present.  Forgiveness brings us back into right relationship with our Lord. 

Forgiveness is a key to a better life, an eternal life.  If this is something that you want, please join us Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. 

KEYS

Keys.  We all have them.   We have keys for our homes, our cars, our places of work.  We have keys for lock-boxes, safety-deposit boxes and even jewelry boxes.  We have keys for locks on yard gates, sheds, bicycles, storage units. 

We use them to gain access to the places we need to go.  We use them to open our treasure troves. 

Those are the physical keys that are obvious to us all.  There are other keys that aren’t so obvious.  What about the keys to our hearts; the keys to our minds; or the keys to our souls?  What about those keys? 

Pastor Ann has been speaking to us for several weeks about God’s Kingdom.  How awesome would it be to have the keys to the Kingdom?  Beyond any earthly keys, His keys hold the power of joy, of peace, of love and of eternity. 

If you believe your key ring is lacking His keys, join us Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. as Pastor Ann presents His message regarding His keys.  If you are unable to make it to the church, please join us on Facebook as we livestream this message.

Seeking Satisfaction

It’s Family Week at Cove Nazarene! What does that mean? It means that Pastor Ann will be teaching to the kiddos this week as they remain in church with us older folks. For some of us (like me) this is a great deal because the message is simple, straighforward and easy to grasp. So what is she going to talk about?

We all remember playing hide and seek when we were (maybe) younger. Seeking was the more difficult part for some of us because the others we played with were great at hiding. Which part did you excell at? Which part did you enjoy more? If I had to guess…………….. most of us preferred hiding.

As we come to realize that there is something missing in our lives, an emptiness within us that we just can’t seem to fill, we begin to be seekers. Some seek fortune and some seek fame, others seek possessions or status. Not one of these things will fill that hole inside us though.

Jesus told us to “seek the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind.” Why would He say that? Because we are designed to be connected to our God and nothing short of a relationship with Him will ever satisfy us.

Join us Sunday morning at 10:55 in the sanctuary or here on Facebook as Pastor Ann teaches this amazing concept! See y’all Sunday!

Heaven and the Kingdom of God

Is there a difference between heaven and the Kingdom of God? YES! Pastor Ann has been speaking to us about the Kingdom of God recently and will continue that exploration this week as she moves us into understanding this difference.

Jesus left the Kingdom of Heaven to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. In doing this, He provided a way for us, as sinners, a way to become Kingdom citizens. He sought out ordinary men and women, not religious leaders. He brought them into relationship with Himself to teach and model the Kingdom of God on earth. If we are willing to follow His teaching and example we too can become citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Pastor Ann will bring us details of this exciting news on Sunday morning at 10:55 am. Come grow with us!

Ambassadors for Christ and His Kingdom

Ambassador is a word that we usually associate with politics and foreign countries. It isn’t a word we tend to apply to ourselves. But, ambassadors are exactly what we are. We represent our beliefs throughout everything we do. Think for a moment about how you’ve represented those beliefs this week. Are your actions saying something your mouth isn’t?

We, as Christ followers, are called to be His ambassadors on earth. That means His representatives all day, every day. We want everyone who comes in contact with us to see Him working through our lives.

Come Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. and listen to Pastor Ann share this concept with us.