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Heavenly Father,

As we end 2018, may our eyes and hearts be focused on you! Father, it seems that America is becoming more and more divided and angry and uncivil. we are are in desperate need for revival. Salvation in your Son, Jesus, is the only answer for our nation. Save souls, revive churches and keep us on our knees in prayer.

As your people gather for worship on December 30, 2018 all across America, may they worship you in spirit and truth.

In the wonderful name of Jesus!

Amen

I Wonder Lord
(a prayer poem for Christmas Eve)

I wonder Lord what the world would feel like
Before you came to earth.
Before the dawn of love reborn,
Before the promise of the baby of light!

I wonder did the shepherds feel
The absence of your grace?
Before forgiveness came in a manger,
Before your mercy was laid in the hay.

I wonder how desperate were the hearts
Of those Kings who searched for truth?
Before all wisdom was born that night,
Before the dawning of a Saviour bright.

I wonder just how Joseph felt,
What a heavy burden he bore.
Before the promises of a beautiful boy,
Before he held the miracle child.

I wonder whether Mary was
The first to feel new things,
Before the birth of Jesus,
Before she carried the Kingdom within.

I wonder this on Christmas eve
Before the dawn of day.
Before the celebrations
Before my Lord’s birthday.

FROM 

Christians often use a simple acrostic as a guide to prayer: A.C.T.S. Each of the letters in this acrostic stands for one of the key elements of prayer:

(A) Adoration

(C) Confession

(T) Thanksgiving

(S) Supplication

But not only does this acrostic remind us of the elements of prayer, it shows us the priority we ought to give to each.

The first element of prayer should be adoration, or praise. The Psalms, which are inspired samples of godly prayer, are heavily weighted on the side of adoration. I’ve noticed over many years that as we grow in the discipline and in the delight of prayer, it seems that we naturally spend more and more of our time on this first element.

Second, prayer should include confession of our sin; as we remember who we are when we come into God’s presence, we see that we have come short of His holiness and have need of His forgiveness.

Third, when we pray, we should always give thanks, remembering the grace and mercy God has shown toward us.

Fourth, prayer rightly includes supplication or petition, bringing our requests for the needs of others and ourselves to God.

I think this is a helpful acrostic for remembering both the elements and the priorities of prayer. Unfortunately, we often spell our prayer life something like S.C.A.T., because we start with supplication and spend very little time, if any, on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.

The Lord’s Prayer

When we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we see adoration at least implied in the petition “Hallowed be Your name.”

For the rest of the post…

The Danger of “I” in Christian Prayer

This article is an excerpt from my book, The Prayer that Turns the World Upside Down: The Lord’s Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution. This post is the third in an eight part series on the Lord’s Prayer. 

There is No “I” in Prayer: Combating Individualism in Our Prayers

Over the past several decades I have noticed that many Christians tend to begin their prayers by presenting their needs. Of course, in some sense, I understand why we naturally turn to petition almost immediately upon entering into prayer. We tend to begin with petitions because prayer reminds us of our deep need for God to sanctify us in our circumstances and save us from our trials. Additionally, our circumstances and trials are often the very thing that drives us to pray in the first place. Thus the tyranny of the urgent has a remarkable way of consuming our intellectual life and our thought patterns. As a result, our prayers, from beginning to end, are often marked by petition.

But the Lord’s Prayer begins in a very different place. Petitions certainly are a part (a major part, in fact) of the Lord’s Prayer, but Jesus does not begin with requests. He begins, instead, by identifying the character of the God to whom he prays while at the same time challenging our individualism in prayer. Jesus does all of this in the first two words, “Our Father.”

The word “our,” at first glance, seems like an insignificant little pronoun. But Jesus is making a tremendously powerful theological point by beginning his prayer with the word “our.” Jesus is reminding us that when we enter into a relationship with God we enter into a relationship with his people. When we are saved by Christ, we are saved into his body, the church. In fact, this emphasis on our place in the corporate identity of the church is reiterated throughout the prayer. One way to notice this emphasis is simply to read through the prayer and stress each personal pronoun:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Do you notice what is stunningly absent? There is no first-person singular pronoun in the entire prayer! Jesus did not teach us to pray, “My father who is heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give me this day my daily bread and forgive me my debts as I also have forgiven my debtors. And lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil.” The point is not to deny our own sins or our own needs, but never to leave ourselves there.

One of the besetting sins of evangelicalism is our obsession with individualism. This obsession with individualism chronically besets us as evangelicals. The first-person singular pronoun reigns in our thinking. We tend to think about nearly everything (including the truths of God’s Word) only as they relate to me. This is why when Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, he emphasizes from the very outset that we are part of a corporate people called the church. God is not merely “my Father.” He is “our Father”—the Father of my brothers and sisters in the faith with whom I identify and with whom I pray.

If we are honest, even many of our prayer meetings fail to take into account Jesus’ emphasis on the corporate character of prayer. Yet we must never lose sight of the fact that even when we pray by ourselves, we must pray with an eye toward and with love for Christ’s church. We must remember the pattern of our Lord’s speech in the model prayer and recall not only the words he used, but the words he didn’t use. The first-person singular (I, me, my, mine) is completely absent from the Lord’s Prayer. Evidently, prayer should not center on you or me.

The problem of overemphasizing ourselves in our prayers reminds me of G. K. Chesterton’s famous answer to a question put forth by a major London newspaper, “What is the problem with the world?” This question was sent to many public intellectuals in Victorian England, many of whom sent back long essays delineating the complexities of everything wrong with the world. Chesterton, however, responded with a simple handwritten note that read, “I am. Sincerely yours, Chesterton.”

What is the biggest problem with our prayers? Perhaps the most fundamental answer mirrors Chesterton’s: “I am.”

For the rest of the post…

 

Back-to-Back First Responders Homicide PrayerWalks: Friday, July 6th – 5:30 PM at 31st & Jackson,  AND 6:15 PM at Jackson Tower (27th & St Marys Ave.) 

Two murders last night within a few blocks of each other.

5:30 PM at Jackson & 31st STREET:  Around 10:00 p.m Wednesday, July 4. Officers responded to Jackson & 31st STREET to investigate a cutting and located an adult male victim who was transported to the Nebraska Medical Center and died as a result of his injuries. The victim’s name will be released once next-of-kin are notified. Aldo Guizar-20 has been booked at Douglas County Corrections for 2nd-Degree Murder and Use of a Weapon to Commit a Felony.

6:15 PM at Jackson Tower – 27th & St Marys Ave:

Around 4:20 a.m. on Thursday morning,  July 5th, officers were called to the back of the Jackson Tower where they located Roderick Moore Jr-19 deceased from a gunshot wound.  Local Ministry Leaders who conduct Bible Studies in Jackson Tower have told us that a number of their group will participate in the PrayerWalk.

Directions:  Highly recomend clicking here for a Google Map, then click on the addresses on left side: 

At 5:30 meet at Jackson & 31st STREET (not AVE)…    Then at 6:15 PM at Jackson Tower – 27th & St Marys Ave. 

NOTE: 31st Street is a One-Way South & St Marys Ave is a One-Way West. 

Suggest going South to Leavenworth then East across 480-FWY to 27th and back North 1Blk to St. Marys. (Parking on NE corner and along 27th).

Depending on response at 31st & Jackson, some team members may stay for a bit longer.  It is 5-6 Blks between the sites if you want to PrayerWalk between them.

AT Jackson Towers meet near the front entrance and then as part of the PW we may take those who feel led to the spot where the homicide happened to pray there and around the Tower area.

Thank You for helping to make a difference in reducing violence in our city. 

Blessings,

Dave Gehrls
Christ For The City Omaha
First Responders Homicide PrayerWalks
402-651-3136
dave@cfci.org

About First Responders PrayerWalking:

  • The Bible says that human bloodshed is violence to the land and all its inhabitants.FirstResponders helps to mobilize the body of Christ to timely onsite prayer at crisis events in our community. We want to say to victims and neighborhoods: “You are not alone! We are from churches all over Omaha coming together to stand united against violence.”
  • FirstResponders PrayerWalks are a community response to violence. They are not prayer-vigils on behalf of the family. Family members are invited if we have contact info, and our team reaches out to care and minister to them as Jesus would.
  • FirstResponders encourages people in neighborhoods to connect and get involved with local churches and organizations. We work to help people get to know their local police better, communicate, build trust and work with our police in reducing violence.

In 2007 John Ewing and Dave Gehrls developed First Responders in partnership with Omaha 360, Empower Omaha, OPD, and other local groups.  More information is at prayerwalking.gehrls.net

 or if you would like to be added to the First Responder team, send an email to dave@cfci.org with your personal contact info and the church you attend.

Click here for more about First Responders PrayerWalks

The First Day

A prayer for Sunday morning

Today we celebrate Your magnificent splendour
For by Your hand You placed time in motion
From the first day of creation until this day
Your creative wonders have filled the universe

Today we celebrate Your mighty power
For by Your hand you raised Christ from the grave
From resurrection Sunday until this day
Your love has given life to all mankind

Father we thank you for today
We give this special day over to You
May we rest in Your presence
Bathe in Your goodness
And celebrate Your eternal life
This day and always

Amen!

(A modern prayer for Sundays from http://www.lords-prayer-words.com)

“God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out. The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: ‘Use me.'”

~ Rick Warren

 

“To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” 

~ Billy Graham

Martin Luther

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

“Revival begins in the individual’s heart. Let it begin with you on your face alone before God. Turn from every sin that might hinder. Renew yourself to a new devotion to the Savior.”

 

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