Pastor's Corner

Pastor’s Corner  August 2020 

I recently received a book from a member that was a collection of sermons from an Anglican preacher, from the late 1800’s. I am a little weird I guess because I do not just like writing sermons, but I also like reading other pastors’ sermons. This next quote is from his sermon on prayer.

“Prayer then, is a necessity of our Humanity, rather than a duty. To force it as a duty is dangerous. Christ did not; never commanded it, naught taught it till asked. This necessity is twofold. First, the necessity of sympathy. We touch other human spirits only a point of two. In the deepest departments of thought and feeling we are alone; and the desire to escape that loneliness finds for itself the voice in prayer.”  - Frederick W. Robertson, 1898

I like his summary of prayer; it is a necessity rather than a duty of every Christian. It is because of our limitations, we cannot predict the future, (nor should we waste our time trying to predict it), we are not in control of every aspect of our lives, (even though at times we like to pretend we are more in control). Our limitations are why we need a savior, they lead us away from our creator into the fantasies of selfreliance and complete self-sufficiency. We need community. We need to talk to each other; we need connections that go beyond the surface. And when we are honest with ourselves about our own limitations, it is easier to see prayer as a necessity instead of a religious duty or checklist that we might go through.

At the end of 1 Thessalonians, St. Paul encourages the believers to live their lives more fully for Christ and His glory.

Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess. 5:13b-22) 

I find it helpful to read Bible verses within the context that that writer wrote them. Sometimes we are quick to point to verse 17, “pray without ceasing” which can be encouraging and confusing at the same time. I remember hearing this verse in Sunday School and then asking a follow up question, “how?” There is not just one answer to my question, how do you pray without ceasing. It has been and will continue to be answered in various different ways.

My approach is to look at the context of the verse. Live at peace with each other. Encourage, challenge, build your brothers and sisters up in the faith. All the while being patient with each other. I know that last part is easier said than done. Always seek too good to everyone around you. As we live our lives, we are reminded that we can pray about anything and everything at all parts of the day. Whether it is early in the morning, or on our drive home from a long day at the office. Prayer is not limited the physical address of our church or the time of day, or what day of the week it is. We should be people of prayer throughout our lives. And as we pray, we should also give thanks to God for all the generous blessings He has given to us with our daily bread so that we begin cultivating hearts full of gratitude. During these irregular times and the interruptions of schedules, I hope that you can set aside some time to continue growing your faith and strengthening your prayer life.

As Pastor Frederick Robertson said,

“Practically then, I say, Pray as He [Christ] did, till prayer makes you cease to pray. Pray till prayer makes you forget your own wish and leave it or merge it in God’s Will.”

In His Grip,

Pastor Ryan Honeycutt