Join Us for Colonial Heights Tuesday Morning Prayer

Prayer.  The gift of God that allows us to communicate with and hear from Him.  Through it we can make our requests known.  We can pour out our hearts to our Creator and Savior.  In prayer, we have access to the throne room of God.  Through prayer we receive guidance and direction.  We can know God intimately through prayer, and yet, prayer is one of the most underutilized disciplines of the spiritual life.

Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17).  The request of the disciples to Jesus wasn’t “teach us to heal” or “teach us to perform miracles,” but was “teach us to pray.”  The disciples saw that Jesus spent time each day praying to the Father before the work of ministry ever began.  They knew prayer to be the power source for the life and ministry of the Messiah, and therefore, wanted to know how to pray as Jesus prayed.

Today, we have the Spirit of God and the Word of God to guide our prayers, and still we find it difficult to consistently pray.  This post is not designed to diagnose why this is the case, nor is it intended to exhaustively explain the importance or place of prayer in the life of a follower of Jesus.

I recently tweeted,

“Prayer must be the engine that drives everything done in the local church.  Without prayer all activity is done with the limit of our ability.”

I’m sure that is not original to me, but is probably a combination of things I have recently read and studied when it comes to the topic and discipline of prayer.  We need to pray individually, and we need to come together as the church and pray.

In light of this need, Colonial Heights will begin opening the Worship Center on Tuesday mornings from 6:30-7:30am for the body of Christ to come together and pray.  This is not the traditional Southern Baptist “prayer meeting” where we spend much of our time hearing a devotional thought or Bible study followed by 5-10 minutes of prayer.  This meeting will be primarily dedicated to praying, both individually and together with those who have gathered.

Here is what the typical morning will look like:

Someone will lead the meeting by sharing a very brief call to prayer.  This could be a passage of scripture, a great quote about prayer, or something else.  We will distribute a prayer sheet focusing on a selection of verses followed by how our prayer for that morning will be guided by what we see in these verses.  You’ll then be released to walk throughout the worship center, find a seat, kneel at the altar, or lie face down as you cry out to God.  We will have soft music playing to create a worshipful environment for prayer.  Feel free to open your Bible, bring a journal to record things that God speaks to you as you pray, or simply focus on the prayer sheet for that morning.  We will gather together once again around 7:20 to wrap up our time so you can leave by 7:30 to make it to work.

Throughout history, all great revivals began when the people of God took prayer seriously.  It is the desire of the staff and leadership of Colonial Heights to see God break out in revival, not only in our church, but in our community, state, nation and world.  This will not happen through a program.  It will only happen through prayer. We are praying that this time together on Tuesday mornings will be catalytic in seeing God move in and through the Body of Christ at Colonial Heights Baptist Church.

Please join us next Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30am as we cry out to God together!

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Like Speaking with a Friend

Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.  (Exodus 33:11a ESV)

Moses would set up the tent of meeting where He would meet with God in this way. In the Old Testament, access to God in this way was very limited. You had men like Moses or the other prophets who would hear from God in this way, or you had the priests who offered sacrifices to Him.

There is an intimacy with Moses and God. “The Lord used to speak to Moses as a man speaks to his friend.”

Today, because of what Jesus has done, we have access to this type of relationship with God. As followers of Jesus, God is our Heavenly Father (Romans 8, Galatians 4), and as such, He wants us to come to Him and spend time with Him…”as a man speaks with his friend.”

That’s incredible!

The Privilege of an Inclined Ear

I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2 (ESV)

7.5 Billion people on planet earth, and the Lord, who created and sustains it all, inclines His ear to hear me when I pray.  When I pray, it is as if the God of all Creation leans forward and whispers, “Come on in, let’s talk for a while.”

When we recognize the magnitude of such a privilege that has been given to us as a gift, (we certainly haven’t earned it) it should stir us to say with the Psalmist, “I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplications.”

Pray today! Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer.  It is the greatest privilege afforded to man, and we so often neglect it.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Chronological Bible Reading – February 14 – Our Tent of Meeting

Today’s Reading: Exodus 30-38

The Tent of Meeting

I am almost certain that I write about this passage every year as I come to it.  It is so rich with truth for us that we must be reminded regularly of the lessons learned from Moses’ Tent of Meeting.

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting… – Exodus 33:7a (NASB)

Thus the Lord used to speak with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.  When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. – Exodus 33:11 (NASB)

What an incredible reality that the God of all Creation can and will speak to us and we can meet with Him and speak to Him as a man speaks with his friend.  This meeting was very limited in the Old Testament.  However, through Jesus Christ, all have access to God through faith.

How often we neglect so great a privilege.  In light of this reality, when we stop and consider the things we allow to keep us from meeting with God on a regular basis, we should be ashamed.  However, when we come to our senses and return to meet with Him, His grace means we will not face condemnation from Him.  His love for us never fails. He is always waiting for us to come to our senses and answer His call to us to meet with Him.  May we never get over the reality that we can meet and fellowship intimately with the Sovereign God of the Universe.

Ponder this truth and examine where you are in your commitment to Him.  Where you see deficiency, repent and find the grace given through Jesus Christ that strengthens you to return to a place of close fellowship with your Heavenly Father.

Moses’ Pattern for Prayer

Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight… – Exodus 33:13 (NASB)

The (Moses) said to (God), “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. – Exodus 33:15 (NASB)

What a model for prayer we see with Moses as he meets with God.  The cry of his prayer is two-fold:

  1. Let me know You.
  2. Lead me by Your presence.

This should be a pattern and part of our prayer life on a daily basis.  To know God is our heart’s cry.  To be led by Him results in a life well lived for His Kingdom purposes.  It is in knowing Him that we find the strength to walk the path He sets before us.  The beauty is that the Christian life is not powered only by a distant encounter with God from our past, but by the moment-by-moment reality of His presence and power at work in and through us by His Spirit.  This reality exists because of the Gospel.  It is because of what Jesus has done and the grace that is given through faith in Him that we know our great God and walk with Him.

May this truth fill our hearts, and stir us to enjoy the intimate fellowship with Him that Jesus came to provide.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Meet with Your Father and Friend

Exodus 33:11 – Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. (ESV)

Moses, as the leader of the Jewish nation, would construct a tent just outside the camp and call it the Tent of Meeting. He would erect the tent, and spend time there meeting with God “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”.

This is such a beautiful picture for each of us to reflect upon today. Here we have the God of the Universe meeting with a man and speaking with him as His friend. I have read this hundreds of times, and each time I read it, it still strikes me as incredible.

But, here is what is even more incredible. By God’s grace through our faith in the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:18, Rom. 5:10) As a result of this reconciliation, we become children of God (1 John 3:1) and as His children, we enjoy the privilege of having free access to our Heavenly Father. We are free to talk with Him and meet with Him “as a man speaking with his friend”. We don’t have to erect some special tent or make a special trip. Talk with Him right where you are, because He is there! This gives me great comfort.

As awesome as Exodus 33’s description of the Tent of Meeting can be, by God’s grace we can experience something even greater!

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Learning from Laurel!

As I was getting dressed this morning, I saw a picture on my dresser of my daughter Laurel and I on a bicycle when she was a baby.  She is laughing, and at that moment I felt such a weight of love in my heart that i wanted to go find her, give her a big hug and kiss, and express my deep love for her.  I did just that!  I didn’t realize that I was about to learn something!

We enjoyed a sweet time of having breakfast together and taking her to school.  Later this morning as I was spending some time praying through a set of prayer cards I created, and came to the card for my children.  The same feelings I had experienced this morning came rushing back, but this time God spoke to my heart and said, “That’s how I feel when I look at you.”  Can you believe that!!?!  But then the thought came to my mind…”how would I have felt if after having seen Laurel’s picture I was stirred to find her to express my love, and she was “too busy” or simply “didn’t care”.  My heart would have been broken, and yet how often is this my response toward my Heavenly Father?  I am guilty of breaking His heart over and over again as I allow the busyness of life and distractions to pull me from Him.  And yet, He continues to love and pursue me.

God allowed me to learn something today through Laurel.  I learned the way I should respond to the love God has for me.  She was excited to hug her daddy’s neck, color a picture, eat a bowl of cereal, and some cinnamon toast and then ride to school.  Not once did she say, “I don’t have time for this daddy.”  She simply wanted to be with me.

Oh God, create in me an understanding of how to enjoy relationship with you through intimate times of prayer and the reading of your Word.  Teach me how to simply “be with you”.

 

Powerful Prayer

Mark 11:24 – “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (ESV)

Almost all of us would admit that our prayer lives are not where they should be.  At times it appears that there is no power in our prayer.  So, how do we understand verses like this one and determine how they apply to our lives? Continue reading

The Call of Every Man

1 Timothy 2:8 – I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

Where are the men of prayer today? The reality is that in most homes the women are the spiritual leaders.  Observe the demographics the next time your church has a special emphasis on prayer.  Chances are the overwhelming majority of people participating will be the women.  This is an absolute tragedy, an opposition to the teaching of scripture, and therefore sin!  I’m certainly not faulting women for praying, but what we need in the church today is men who are going to answer the call to be men of prayer.

I have heard it quoted many times that “prayerlessness is the greatest evidence of pride” because it reveals the heart felt belief that God is not needed.  We as men, husbands, and fathers are called to lead our families, and the first and foremost way in which we should lead is in the practice of prayer.  Men, God is calling you to pray.  Don’t be so arrogant as to think that you can fulfill what God has called you to do on your own.  Only through prayer will we see men rise up to meet the challenges of this world and “wage the good warfare” (1 Tim. 1:18).