in From the Pastor

Prayer and the Church

What a week.

I think it is safe to say that we have all gone through the experience of thinking you know what the week ahead will bring only to have it all turned upside down and shaken around. By the end of the week, you’re left thinking you live in a Salvador Dali painting – even time seems to have melted.

When this has become your life, even when it is relatively short lived, prayer becomes indispensable, but it is at precisely these moments that prayer can also seem impossible. I wonder if you’ve ever felt that way? You want to pray, you need to pray, but you don’t have the words, and the emotional strain seems too much. What then?

Thankfully prayer doesn’t need to be long to be heard. There should be seasons and days in your life when prayer is so sweet you love to linger with the Lord; but there are also days and weeks when your prayers sputter along. I wonder, is that when the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit’s intercession on our behalf becomes even more effective? Paul says in Romans 8:26, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness…and intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” After all, Paul discovered, much to his surprise, that God’s grace is sufficient, and “his power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

But there’s more. More, you say? How could there be more than the intercession of the Spirit? By God’s grace and design the ‘more’ that we know is the body of Christ, the church. When we are lonely, we are not alone. When we feel isolated, we are surrounded. When worry knocks, brothers and sisters in Christ answer that door for you. Our Lord died for us so that we might belong to his eternal family, and the marvel is that we don’t have to wait for eternity to enjoy his abundant supply. The riches of his benefits overflow to us even now – our cup overflows.

This past week, my cup has been overflowing like never before. It has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with my God and Savior, the people he has called to himself and, by his providential power, doctors, nurses and others who, unbeknownst to them, are his chosen instruments of mercy to us. God is sovereign over his people, but the world is no less at his command. Surely, goodness and mercy are pursuing me every day.

As we approach Easter, let us consider afresh what God gave up for us, what Jesus accomplished for us, and what the Spirit applies to us. How glorious that resurrection life begins in the present because of what Jesus did in the past and the Spirit guarantees for the future. What a week? No…

What a Savior!