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The Church That Prays Together Thrives Together (via Sojourn Blog)

Tomorrow night mpgc will meet for our First Sunday Prayer Meeting.
Among other needs, we’ll pray for: one of our ailing aged members and her family; one of members who will have cancer surgery; Para Hills Presbyterian Church; our Easter services; lots of Easter ministry, including camps; ministry in East Timor including the visit of our friend Rob Duncanson; and much more.
As if that’s not reason enough, here’s some encouragement from Won Kwak at Sojourn Blog.
Come along.

So the other night, my 6-year-old Owen anxiously volunteered himself to pray for our family dinner.  He did so because he likes to pray, which is to our delight, but also because he’s always excited to eat (this also delights us).
His prayer started off strong with as much passion a hungry six-year-old can muster, “Dear Gawd… thank you for the gospel and God’s glory.  And thank you that Jesus died upon the cross for our sins.  Please help those who don’t know the gospel to know it, and please help those who don’t know you be saved.  And please help the children in China have milk and food…”
But then he got stuck, and he really struggled with not knowing what to pray for or even say next.  And as he stopped mid-thought and stammered with a succession of “And… and… umm… and… uhhh… and…” I sensed him getting discouraged and even slightly upset that the words were no longer flowing with ease (I’m sure he was also frustrated with being the reason for the meal being delayed!).
At that moment, as I was about to bail him out, his 7-year-old big sister Bethany chimed in with “And thank you so much for mom preparing for us this yummy dinner” and almost simultaneously his 11-year-old even bigger sis’ Madelyn offered a “Please help us to love each more self-lessly because You sacrificed Your Son for us…” and it became a corporate, family affair-prayer as Diane and I also pitched in.  The brief moment was truly glorious, and the dinner was dee-lish!

“Our Father knows our weakness.  He sent His Son to die for our weaknesses, our sin.”

Owen needed his family to help him as he faced some difficulties even as he was attempting to pray.  And as much as I’d like to say I never struggle with prayer, I’d be lying through my teeth!  My individual prayer life & habits often seem routine, ineffective, shallow, and even contrived.
God’s means of grace?  Corporate prayer…
This is one of the reasons why we pray together as a church family.  Sure, we hope to experience praying for one another altogether, but we also gather like this to experience God using one another to help us in our time of not knowing how to pray or what to pray for.  This is how God has designed us to live life, as a community that prays and does life together as God’s redeemed people loving and serving the body of Christ sacrificially and engaging the mission prayerfully.  But it goes beyond us helping one another–you see, that only goes so far.
In Romans 8:26-27, Paul writes as a reminder that we have eternal promises to hold-fast to even now, this side of eternity:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Our Father knows our weakness.  He sent His Son to die for our weaknesses, our sin.
He patiently waits for us to lift up holy hands in prayer and then He hears our frail voices mumble undisciplined, passionless, compassion-less, ‘at a loss for words,’ sin-ridden prayer. But He doesn’t get fed up with us and never ever does He tell us to go figure it out for ourselves.  Rather, He helps us from beginning to end; in our prayer lives and in our salvation and every area of life!
“What do you have that you did not receive? (1Cor.4:7)”  He mercifully searches our hearts and helps us to pray according to His will.  There’s great relief to be found in this truth for all the Owens out there who struggle with prayer.

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A New Commentary On Proverbs Commended By Greidanus And Goldsworthy

Sidney Greidanus and Graeme Goldsworthy have both established solid careers based around works that help readers identify Christ and Kingdom in all the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.
So, when a commentary on the Old Testament book Proverbs is described (in part) by one as “A superb source for preachers preparing a series of Christian sermons on the book of Proverbs and for Bible study groups interested in studying biblical wisdom” and by the other that “The strength of Ray Ortlund’s study of Proverbs is its Christ-centeredness” this reader takes notice.
This is on the acquisitions list.
Ray Ortlund: Proverbs – Wisdom That Works in the Preaching The Word series of commentaries.
Read a bit more at Justin Taylor’s blog.

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The Power Of Partnership – Some Things Are Not Worth Doing Alone

This clip has been making the rounds of the internet.
What makes it stand apart from the usual ‘least-likely-looking recognised as prodigious talent’ story which has come to be associated with talent shows is that this narrative tells the story of what happens when the very talented ‘ugly duckling’ is told that his not as talented partner could hold him back and that he should abandon her.
It’s his reaction that touches your heart more deeply than any note that he sings.
David Murray has some good thoughts about spiritual applications which can be drawn from this.

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The Forklift Licence: Another Mystery Of Life Solved

I see job ads which specify ‘Must have forklift licence’ and always wonder ‘What’s all that about? Why do you need a licence to drive a forklift? How hard can it be?’
Well, this gif answers the question.
I think it also speaks to a general principle as to why preachers should be licensed, as well.


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Rob Duncanson posts about changes to the way in which the Australian Presbyterian Church will be providing financial support to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste.