Rev. Kemp is working his way through the book by J.I. Packer called On Praying. each week’s session will be followed by a Study and Reflection time on Wednesday afternoon rom 2-3:30 at St. Paul’s. Sessions will start on February 28. Material for each week’s study will be available at the church and under the post called Study on this website. A time of sharing and prayer will conclude each session
Praying – Finding our Way through duty to delight
THE GOD WE PRAY TO
- Bishop Ryle wrote: “If I know anything of a Christian’s heart, you are often sick of your own prayers.” How does this connect, or not connect, with your own experience?
- Look again at the differing kinds of praying. (see supplemental) What are some significant changes you have seen in your own praying?
- Study Moses’ encounters with God in Exodus 3:1-6, 13-14; 34:5-8. What do these passages reveal about God’s nature?
- How could God’s nature, as revealed in the Exodus passages, inform your praying?
- This week’s message spoke of how routine in prayer can be both a problem and a blessing. What do you find in routine praying that is of value? What do you find that is troubling or causes you to stop and think? What do you find that you would like to implement in your praying?
- In the quotation from Bishop Ryle (see supplemental), find one statement that you agree with, one that challenges you, and one that is like your own experience. If you could speak personally to Bishop Ryle, what would you want to say or ask?
- This week’s message outlined eight truths about God (see supplemental). Select one of these qualities that you would like to study further and meditate on. Look up any biblical passages cited and read their contexts. Note questions that this characteristic of God raises in your mind. Consider reasons why you are thankful that God is this kind of God. How would you like your understanding of this characteristic of God to influence the way you pray?
- John 15:15-16 says: No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is about. I have called you friends, because I have disclosed to you everything that I heard from my Father. You did not choose me: I chose you. I appointed you to go on and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father may give you whatever you ask in my name. How does this passage help define your relationship with God? In what ways do these words from Jesus encourage you to pray?
- The book on which this series of messages is based is less a how-to book than a to-whom book. The focus is on God and being God’s person in this matter of praying. As you begin studying prayer from this standpoint, what hopes and expectations does this statement raise
Prayers we use can come from a book of prayer; ancient saints of the Celtic tradition, the Middle Ages as well as modern authors. We can make up our own prayers. We may use the ACTS sequence (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication). There are also a number of styles of prayer: listening prayer; centering prayer; labyrinth prayer; prayer in tongues; the prayer of silence, mental prayer, the prayer of union; and prayer to help us get through the dark night of the soul.
I ask…whether you pray, because a habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian. All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying. This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God. “They cry day and night unto him” (Luke 18:7). The Holy Spirit, who makes them new creatures, works in them the feeling of adoption, and makes them cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15)….It is as much a part of their new nature to pray as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They cannot do otherwise than they do. They must pray.
I ask whether you pray because there is no duty in religion so neglected as private prayer….I believe there are tens of thousands whose prayers are nothing but a mere form, a set of words repeated by rote without a thought about their meaning…. Many, even of those who use good forms, mutter their prayers after they got into bed, or while they wash or dress in the morning. Men may think what they please, but they may depend upon it that in the sight of God this is not praying. Words said without heart are ….utterly useless to our souls….. Where there is no heart, there may be lip-work and tongue-work, but there is nothing that God listens to; there is no prayer.
Have you forgotten that it is not fashionable to pray? It is one of the things that many would be rather ashamed to own. There are hundreds who would sooner storm a breach….than confess publicly that they make a habit of prayer. There are thousands who, if obliged to sleep in the same room with a stranger, would lie down in bed without a prayer….I believe that few pray.
I ask whether you pray, because diligence in prayer is the secret of eminent holiness. Without controversy there is a vast difference among true Christians…. I believe the difference in nineteen cases out of twenty arises from different habits about private prayer. I believe that those who are not eminently holy pray little, and those who are eminently holy pray much.
You who do pray, if I know anything of a Christian’s heart, you are often sick of your own prayers….There are few children of God who do not often find the season of prayer a season of conflict.
It is essential to your soul’s health to make praying a part of the business of every 24 hours of your life…….Whatever else you make a business of, make a business of prayer.
Never forget that you may tie together morning and evening devotions by an endless chain of short prayers throughout the day. Even in company, or business, or in the very streets, you may be silently sending up little winged messengers to God as Nehemiah did in the presence of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 2:4). And never think that time is wasted which is given to God…. A Christian never finds he is a loser, in the long run, by persevering in prayer.
Tell me what a [person’s] prayers are, and I will soon tell you the state of [their] soul. Prayer is the spiritual pulse. By this the spiritual health may be tested…. Oh, let us keep an eye continually upon our private devotions.
Truths about God: God is personal, multi-dimensional, unique, powerful, purposeful, promise-keeper, paternal, praiseworthy.
God is multi-dimensional: Genesis 1:26; John 3
God is unique: Exodus 3:14-15; Exodus 34:5-10; Psalm 86:5
God is powerful: Psalm 135:6; Psalm 139:1-6; Psalm 93; 95:3; 96:10;97; 98:6; 99
God is purposeful: Philippians 2:8; Matthew 26:39-42; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 17:24; John 15:15
God is a promise-keeper: 2 Corinthians 1:20; Joshua 23:14; Romans 4:20-22
God is paternal: Matthew 6:4, 6, 8-13,18, 32-33; Matthew 7:7-11
God is praiseworthy: Psalm 147:1; Psalm 150:6
WMS is collecting non-perishable items for the foodbank on an ongoing basis. It will be delivered at the end of every month.
In addition to non-perishable food items, the food bank is in dire need of back to school supplies. Suggestions for donations are:
Primary Grades: small backpack, sharpened pencil, eraser, small ruler, small pencil case, lunch box/bag
Junior/Senior grades: sharpened pencils, eraser, ruler, pens in blue/black and red ink, highlighters, calculator (scientific), protractor, small pair of scissors, glue stick, pencil case, planner or agenda, binders and notebooks, folder to bring home forms/homework, pocket-sized French dictionary
Major drive is for Sunday, 31 July, but people are still encouraged to donate on the first Sunday in September. Items donated will be delivered to the food bank early the following week.
The Presbytery of Seaway-Glengarry has decided to sponsor a refugee family. To that end a Refugee sponsorship committee has been formed. They have asked each pastoral charge to name a representative. garnet Thompson form Morewood has agreed to e our representative. The cost to sponsor a family is approximately $30,000. Support for the programme will be by freewill donations through our local churches to the Presbytery. Until our application is completed we have no details on the family that we might receive or when they might arrive.