Formal prayer offered before each Legislative session of Congress
Originally done by a Congressman
Eventually hired a full time chaplain
one of the many responsibilities - open session w/ prayer
One day...he was late.
Old Congressman approached the microphone
Speaker of the House bangs gavel and says "by what right..."
Congressman said by the right of ANY SINNER...
He prayed for the country and the congress
I think it's great that they pray for our country and congress when they gather.
On occasion, I'm called and asked to pray at City Council meetings...as I did this past week.
We should also pray for our country and congress and city on a regular basis.
We should also pray for
the groups we gather with
our friends, our family
ESPECIALLY OUR CHURCH!!!
Outside of our time together, if I asked when the last time you prayed was some may say
this morning...yesterday...last week at church...and still some don't remember.
The last time you prayed...what was it for?
Often we pray for our circumstances
WHY? - We want them to change...right?
We want to be healthy, financially secure, job security
BUT - what about people?
Not just those we live and work with, but what about those we worship with?
At LTCC we have seen some major answered prayers...and that's awesome.
Do we want to see more answered prayers?
YES, YES WE DO!!!
So the question is, what do we pray for?
Ok, let's cover what is often, but not always, my favorite part of any book of the Bible...THE WHY
This letter begins w/ THANKSGIVING & PRAYER...
Philippians is a book about joy or TRUE GRIT
Not everything is great but we can still be excited. We can still fully rejoice. We can still show our true grit.
For Paul, his situation is going downhill fast.
He's in prison. Many believe he's in Rome at this time which means it's probably about the time many think he dies.
Regardless of his situation he teaches joy.
In fact, 14x's he uses "joy" or "rejoice" in this very short letter.
If I were to break down the 4 Chapters with that in mind
Chapter 1 - Joy in suffering
Chapter 2 - Joy in Service
Chapter 3 - Joy in Purpose
Chapter 4 - Joy in Fellowship
We hear joy and we get this fluffy feeling.
Big cheesey smile.
Too much hair spray and eye make up.
It's not that kind of joy. At least, that's not how joy is defined.
Biblically, joy = a Christian duty, a resoluteness of faith, divine peace.
It's connected to words like character, charisma, giving, and grace
When I see this type of joy...it's real faith.
It knows how to put up and not shut up.
Now...before any joy is really discussed, Paul prays.
And I feel this prayer is one we need to pray as much as the Philippians needed
Look at what Paul prays for here
Love, knowledge, wise choices, purity, righteousness...GOD'S GLORY
This is what Paul wants for the Philippian church
Do you think we need that?
That's what Paul wants for the Philippians
It's what I want for Lincoln Trail!
Since I want this for us, let's look at it on a personal level
How does LOVE affect you as a part of the church?
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (pg 813)
Without love, we can't meet needs. We can't reach others effectively. Without love, we don't want to be a part of each other.
Paul also talks about knowledge...so what about it?
Several people don't want knowledge, you know why?
With knowledge comes responsibility. If I know how to do this, it will be expected of me.
Hebrews 5:12-6:2, 11-12 (pg 848)
Ms. Mona was a great example of this. She didn't sit still once she became a Christian. In fact, she impacted, she grew in love and knowledge and changed the lives of others...in fact, she changed the face of this church through her service.
When love and knowledge meet they guide our choices...that is, they guide how we interact with God and Man
Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment...what thing do I need to know...
They were seeking knowledge...Jesus' response was love.
Love God and love man.
When love and knowledge have combined and directed our choices we have pure motives.
This prayer that Paul offers builds a beautiful picture!
If your motives are pure & your choices are honorable
If you have been guided by love & you know what and why you are doing it
You will see righteousness.
In that moment...who do you think get's the glory and praise.
GOD DOES, every time.
Can you imagine God will use Lincoln Trail if this prayer is answered?!?
We want God to answer it for us right?
Repeat after me.
May our love abound more.
May our knowledge increase in every insight.
May we make decisions that are best.
May we be found pure and blameless when Christ returns.
May we be filled with all righteousness that comes through Christ alone and not self.
May this happen for the glory and praise of God.
I believe God still answers prayer.
I believe those answered prayers change our circumstances.
I believe that God will answer this prayer.
I believe this prayer changed the Philippian church and if we pray it, it will change us as well.
When Lincoln Trail changes, we change
When we change our family changes
Our community changes
And this is all for the good of all
Because when our love is intentional, not accidental, we will have a ministry that honors God.