GENERATING PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS FOR CHURCH COMMUNITY SUPPORT
(How much prayer can a prayer team pray if a prayer team could be team prayers?)
This week is unique, God has given me a job through my devoted wife that has turned out to be a treasure. Our day’s inspirations seemed to collide. She with her restoring of our home’s wall hangings, and my leading to research ‘dimensions of prayer’.
So she came into my coffee hour all smiles and showing me the frame of Martin Wiscombe’s flower-poster renderings that has begun to peel up.
“I have a project for you!” She said.
And I thought at first, oh-oh, what has she done now — but because of her light attitude, I was accepting and open to helping her. The pair of prints are something we found in one of the many Sample House stores in Dallas Ft. Worth, when we had the resources to invest in such things. (Pastor Rick Warren, recently touched on marriage relationship-concerns to fix.)These pictures have hung significantly in the dining room corner over a chest of drawers used for serving and storage of plates and pots — for the entire 15 years we’ve been here in Alabama — everything else seemed to get moved around.
MEANWHILE BACK TO MY INSPIRATION
I had heard from God what I thought was original. ‘Look up dimension of prayer‘ which is what I was reading about, and got the point of it well enough that I might take the frame and go to my workbench in the shed, thinking, ‘There are seven dimensions of prayer, according to James 5:13-16.‘ (walterbright.org)
I was all set to meditate on God’s Word, while working a restoration of a valuable frame. [If I think like a monk and work like a monk, then I must learn to pray like a monk.]
Last week’s post was an effort to chrystalize pastor Rick Warren’s sermon because God spoke to me about prayer, powerfully. ‘Find 4 people who are available to pray with you.’ (In the sense that I don’t have them yet.)
So I selected them and did message them, but got only two to respond. My thoughts were thankful for the one of the four as I entered the shed, opening both doors. Then, I turned to the frame rework. (one plus one out of four is not bad. It is a start.)
I tried Goo gone, carborator solvent, and gasoline on the glued covering, and nothing worked like I had hoped this might be easy. Then I wipped out my trusty Leatherneck Wave (knife-tool) and started scraping. It was slow but it worked. Then I began to meditate on the prayer ‘dimensions’. [This knife-tool blade is surgical steel and I am alert to maintaining its sharpness.]
‘The first dimension is praise.‘ I thought as I scraped. By the time I thought through all seven, I had scraped off the paper on the back of the frame. Well, okay, this was going to take all day. But I noticed something unusual . . .
Scraping through the paper, and scraping off the adhesive, there remained an ebony black wood that was not phased by my scraping. My knife was sharp and it took an under-scraping to clear up the character of the base wood. It is hard enough to resist any scratching. And the grain is very faint. So I looked it up on Google with my phone . . . and learned, it is an African Blackwood: Rare and very hard.
I felt instantly this project was well worth the effort to rework-restoration. Only my hands are tender for the excessive use of elbow grease (Scraping with a vertical sharp edge, back and forth, at a pace quick enough to produce a reasonable rate of progress. Also my thoughts of dimensional prayer were easily reviewed again and again.
This version of my text is the easiest reading from what I think is the best paraphrased translation. Let me explain how my mind came to thinking of this. Personally, I have a weak left eye. It was a birth defect that was corrected somewhat when I was six. This makes me unable to have depth perception. So I see everything in only two dimensions not three.
Applying spacial concept into a spiritual concept is not perfect, but helps understanding somewhat. A third dimension of prayer cannot exist without the first two. Two dimensional prayer is thanksgiving and praise (verse 13) with authority (verse 14a) , this gets us into the gate and into God’s court. (Psalms 100:4) [Authority is Scripture plus Church tradition, and is the source of the next dimension.]
THREE DIMENSIONAL PRAYER
Notice the text explains, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders (ordained leaders) of the church, and let them pray over him, ANOINTING him with oil in the name (Authority) of the Lord.” [verse 14]
Dimensions of praise . . . authority . . . and anointing, all three are foundational to the church ministry.
And this is only three dimensional! God and his church are involved here . . . so far. What is missing is explained as stepping into the “Twilight zone” — as the fourth and fifth dimensions. Healing requires these: Faith and confession.
THE FOURTH AND FIFTH DIMENSION
“And the prayer of FAITH shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins they will be forgiven him.” [verse 15] and, “CONFESS your faults one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed . . .“[verse 16a]
This text tells us how the depth perception of three dimensions of prayer is focusing on provisions needed. The purpose of our spiritual life is able to become clearer, we are called to do something. Prayer is focused powerfully, like a beam of cleansing. Like a surgeon’s scalpel, to cut out the bad and show forth the good . . . to refinish and reveal quality.
OUR OBJECTIVE – THE WORK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (verse 16b NAS)
We can conclude with this. The last two dimensions we are talking about is work and righteousness. Since we already understand how this is God’s work — the ‘finished work of the cross’, getting ourselves right with God always includes dealing with sin. Jesus prayed using minimum words of command and sin or evil departed. Jesus’ Church is the same.
My greatest sins have occurred with family relationships. My wife sees me differently than I see myself. I write what I believe God the Holy Spirit is saying. Being obedient to God is key here. It is not the same for everyone. My pride has to step back for a while. But my wife has her own opinions, she is not always in agreement. [Is this not uncommon?]
“Where there is love there is no labor.” (Benedictine Sisters, novena to the Holy Spirit, day 3)
THE CHURCH’S BETROTHED HUSBAND MODEL
“One reason [that someone’s husband is flawed and his wife seeks his transformation] is the function of prayer in the relationship between Christ and his Church. A wife relates to her husband the way the church should relate to Christ. The church prays to Christ–or to God the Father through Christ.” Said John Piper, author of This Momentary Marriage.
“When the church prays to her Husband, she asks him to do things a certain way. If we are sick, we ask him for healing. If we are hungry, we ask for our daily bread. If we are lost we ask for directions. And so on. Since we believe in the absolute sovereignty of Christ, to govern all things, this means we look at the present situation that he has ordained, and we ask him to change it.
“I am only drawing out an analogy here, not an exact comparison. The church never confronts Jesus with his imperfections. He has no imperfections. But we do seek from him changes in the situation he has brought about. That is what petitionary prayer is. So wives on this analogy, will ask their husbands to change some ways he is doing things.” (US Copyright fair use credit Crossway.org)
My marriage is not yet a prayer team, as you may assume; but with professor Piper’s contribution here, there is hope we each can learn team prayer principles. I needed to understand the analogy, because I don’t have to feel threatened. And, my wife can know her prayers are church sanctioned. She is praying for me to become more considerate and loving.
REWORK A PEALING FRAME TO REVEAL DIVINE CHARACTER
The work of prayer happens because of faith and confession. Do you desire to pray? I recommend for you to commit to praying up to a tithe (tenth) of your day. But that may not work for you. It is no sacrifice if it doesn’t cost you something. I have asked for the Lord to show me how to do it, an hour at waking, an hour before nap, and half-hour at bedtime.
As I became open to learn the Rosary, and associated Novenas (Latin for nine, prayer for nine days). The next development was to seek who is the patron saint for those I learn needs focused prayer. This has built an extensive prayerlist which includes family, relatives (younger ones), friends, followers, pastors, priests, sisters, government leaders, and journalists.
[“No person is greater than his prayer life.” Leonard Ravenhill]
Bottom line: a team prayer describes a work within a person’s heart. To be able to humbly kneel and consistently say the words God shows you to pray for those he shows you to pray for. To begin this, requires a simple commitment. As St. Ignatius of Loyola, patron saint of prayer warriors, prayed, Suscipe (Latin, Receive); thankfully trusting for the best:
“Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward save that of knowing I am doing your will.” (Catholic.org/prayers)
Until next time, may the Lord bless and keep you,
Please tweet me @wordlifejournal
Next you may visit our ‘Mystery’ page by clicking HERE!