September 2018

Dear Friends Pursuing Christ,

Friday, August 17th – Saturday August 18th, the youth of FPC encouraged us to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil at the Church. Thank you teens!  As is the case for me, there is a time before the vigil when I think, I can’t afford the time to spend so many hours in prayer.  Then when I spend the time in prayer, in quiet solitude, listening to God through His Word (and yes there are even times when I hear HIS “still small voice” speak, or prod me), I feel refreshed.  Although that is a special time for me, I have noticed the effects of the prayer time have a greater impact on me in the days that follow.

Sunday morning as I entered the sanctuary, I could feel HIS presence and peace.  Not only was I not feeling stressed, but people seemed filled with joy! That spirit carried through in worship as well.  You could feel the Holy Spirit’s presence in the sanctuary and pulsating through His people. The time spent in prayer has changed me.

In Scripture, the prayers of the people have always been linked to an offering of a sweet incense to God. In Exodus, it talks about the incense of spices being burned alongside the prayers of the priests.  The Book of Revelation speaks of worship and prayer:

“And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb.  Each one had a harp and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are prayers of the people.” Revelation 5:8 (NLT)

David prayed to God:

“Accept my prayers as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering.” Psalm 141:2 (NLT)

Our prayers are a sweet aroma to God.  He loves to hear us speak to Him.  He desires to speak to us.  Andrew Murray writes, “Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory.  Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people.  Think of your place and privilege in Christ and expect great things.”

Let us try to cultivate a daily time of prayer, a time to pull aside and spend time with God. For most of us it will require a plan. We will have to mark it down on our calendar and keep that appointment with God.  When it happens spontaneously, what a blessing!  But don’t miss out on this time. It will be life changing.

During worship, we will study the letter to the Galatians with an intensive study on the “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5).  A special thank you to Rod and Jill for hosting the Back to School party and to Bev Claypool and Keith Cook for taking shifts to keep the sanctuary open for the Vigil, and for Rex for fixing the lights on the cross.

Love and prayers,

Ilona

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