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Seasons of Prayer

Seasons of Prayer

We want to be a church that is praying with each other, praying for each other, and praying that the grace of Jesus would be very present in our circumstances. So, we're excited to share with you that for the rest of the year, we will be praying through seasons of quietness, petition, anticipation, and praise! We hope you'll join us as we seek to listen to and pray to our loving God as he moves in and through our church during this time of transition and opportunity. We will be sharing weekly blog posts here to encourage you on how you can pray during this time. 

The Finite are Blessed by the Infinite

Dec 5, 2022

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:8-12 NIV

When God answers your prayer, how do you typically respond? Several biblical scholars suggest that Psalm 103, entitled “Praise for the Lord’s Mercies,” may very well be David giving thanks to God for answering his prayer of need in Psalm 102. Perhaps you respond with a quick but sincere, “Thank you, Lord!” If the prayer that was answered left you speechless and not feeling worthy of the blessing God gave you, it may lead to a deep gratitude of God’s mercy in spite of shortcomings that feed your guilt and shame. In cases like those, it should please us to remember what’s true about God.

We were purposefully created with a range of emotions; we feel as God feels. God demonstrates anger, which we see kindled against His own people and others in the OT. In the NT, we see Jesus turning over tables in the temple while chasing out those who were profaning the purpose of His Father’s house. While anger is something God portrays, His anger is not eternal. It is an emotion He invokes, but not something He constantly has burning against those He made in His own image.

So what is something eternal that God holds for His people? Love. Throughout the history of the creation itself, love is the primary way God chooses to reveal Himself and make Himself known. The love God has for us transcends any measure and surpasses any amount of words that aims to comprehensively describe its depth. His actions and compassion toward us are soaked in His love, His grace, and His mercy. You are forgiven when you ask, and you are seen when no one else sees you. “Praise the LORD, my soul!”

Action: Write down or think about when God has answered your prayer. In your own way, praise Him for His goodness and grace. Next, write down or think about a prayer request you consider out-of-range or not likely to be answered how you desire. Give it to the Lord in prayer, and trust that He works for the good of those who love Him.

Hope in God

Nov 28, 2022

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
(Psalm 43:5 ESV).

So many of the psalms focus on God meeting his people in the midst of difficult circumstances. Psalm 43 is no exception. The psalmist cries out to God for vindication and deliverance from evil. He calls out for God’s light and truth to lead him to God’s holy hill - where his very presence dwells. In him, the psalmist finds shelter and responds in praise. Often, difficult situations or seasons reveal our need for God and result in praise - when we have nowhere else to turn, God shows himself faithful and present.

Action: This week - Take some time to reflect on your past year. Where did you experience hardship? What was difficult? How did God show up for you? Write this praise down and place it in a place where you will regularly see it this week as a reminder of his faithfulness.

Exalt the Lord Together

Nov 21, 2022

Psalm 34:2-3
My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

This is a beautiful encouragement to join with others and exalt the Lord together! What does that look like for you? We have an opportunity to do just this every time we gather for worship and yet so often, we take it for granted. When we are together, we are able to not only praise the Lord for what he has done in our own lives, but also for what he has done in the lives of those around us. The perspective we gain when we exalt the name of the lord together is one of great breadth because we continue to understand the power of our God. He is big enough to deliver us when we fear him, to keep us from speaking evil, to deliver the righteous who cry out for help, and to hold us upright as we turn from evil and do good. These are all pictures that Psalm 34 paints for us and they all give reason to individually and collectively magnify and exalt the name of the Lord!

Action: Praise him for what he’s done in someone else’s life! Maybe this song will help you to give praise to Him who is worthy!

Yes, God Likes Drums

Nov 14, 2022

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
  praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
  praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 150 NIV

The Book of Psalms officially closes with a brief but vibrant entry that calls for the Lord, Creator of all things, to be praised where He is, for what He has done, for who He is, and with every instrument at our disposal. It is a fitting end and emphasis that provides an excellent model for how we can approach God in praise and worship.

An interesting and appropriate element in Scripture to highlight is that the majority type of psalm of the Book of Psalms is the lament. In both types of laments (individual and communal), there are cries for easing of suffering, pain, sadness, and confusion. However, most laments open and/or close with the recognition of who God is, and that He is indeed good, great, powerful, and loving. In a world marred with the brokenness of sin, it’s appropriate for us to see this ratio in Scripture…and it brings a level of comfort to know God has been and will continue to be faithful in times where we need Him most.

Action: Whether it’s singing in the car to the radio, a time where you worship with your family at home, or playing an instrument, find a time this week to praise God through song outside of our weekend worship services.

Psalm 98

Nov 7, 2022

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

This song celebrates God's redemptive work through all time. It also suggests that each who sings it can keep repeating God's praises in their own words.

Why praise God? (1-3)
Because God is working salvation for His people, and it is accessible to the whole world. This is the substance of praise, and the reason for it. God is up to something good! So praise Him!

How might God be praised? (4-6)
With everything you can! The song mentions a lyre, melody, trumpets, horns, and joyful noise. But the list isn't exhaustive; it's creative. What do you have at your fingertips that could add to the joyful noise of God's praise?

Asking again, why praise God? (7-9)
Because God's redemption is for the whole creation. The sea joins in! The rivers contribute to the praise! God's salvation satisfies what the waters of creation experienced in the beginning - God's spirit bringing peace to chaos.

So, take a moment and ask yourself. Why do I praise God?