Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Praying Together

One recent religious survey noted that the average minister only prays three minutes each day. I found this astounding. I do not know if it is accurate, but if this is true, is it any wonder why the church is not growing?

Hey wait a minute...maybe we should ask ourselves how much we are praying? It's not that there is a required amount, but rather it has to do with where we are in our spiritual lives. Prayer is key. Prayer can change everything.

I am finding that one of the most important things I can do to change and improve my own prayer life is to pray with others. When we pray with our spouses it changes our marriage. When we pray with our family it brings God into our home in a greater way. When we pray with our friends we share our lives together and our friendship grows. When we pray with the church we have more confidence in our spiritual journey.

Here are a few suggestions that I believe will enhance your prayer life:

1. Have a prayer list.
  • Sit down and think of all the people who have special needs and all the problems people are facing. A prayer list helps you focus on issues others are struggling with and humbles you. You will realize how many people need prayers, and you will be reminded about how many blessings you have.
2. Pray more in your Bible classes.
  • It would be a good idea for each of our Bible classes, if we started and ended with a prayer. It will change the way you study. It will allow God to be present with those who are looking into His word.
3. Make a regular time each evening to pray with your spouse.
  • When couples communicate with God they also communicate with each other. If you have never heard your spouse pray, you are missing out on knowing them as well as you could.
4. Teach your children how to pray, and help them to pray regularly.
  • There is nothing more rewarding then listening to your child as the learn to pray. As they improve, you are developing in them a relationship with God that they will never regret.
Prayer is not a job, it is a privilege. We desperately need to pray.

"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." ~ James 5:16

Monday, September 14, 2009


The Cartoon Strip, "ZIGGY" has been around since 1969. Created by Tom Wilson, Ziggy is a little man who is bald, barefoot, with little distinguishing features except his nose. He has no job, hobbies, or romantic partner, just several pets. One memorable cartoon has Ziggy sitting alone in a boat, drifting towards a sign that reads, "Tunnel of Meaningful Relationships."

One website I visited this week stated that, "Loneliness is a growing problem in our society. A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the most lonely group in America are college students. That's surprising! Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly."

Not too long ago there was an actual ad in a Kansas newspaper in which someone offered -
"I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.00." Believe it or not, it was not long until this ad was receiving a response of 20 calls per day.

Loneliness in our society is a result of the breakdown of family life as God would have it. Whether we realize it or not, we are causing both loneliness in others and in ourselves. There is nothing worse than the fact that many young children experience a deep sense of being alone - not receiving the love and attention they need to grow in a world that is often cold and cruel.
Even people who are strong Christians will often feel isolated by life's circumstances. When there is a lack of affection or communication from other Christians, these individuals will often be shaken in their faith.

Loneliness is not an immediate occurrence. It is a gradual slipping away from healthy relationships and purposeful living. I am strongly convinced that the loneliness we often experience is due to poor choices in our interests and investments. When we spend the majority of our time on things that are going to pass away, as these things begin to slip through our fingers we begin to wonder about the meaning of our own existence.

I have never met a human being that has not admitted to experiencing the feeling of loneliness. This reminds me that people are lonely on a regular basis, and that they desire to be otherwise. This is why fellowship is important. This is why visitation is important. This is why is is a such a great blessing, knowing that we have a God and Savior who will never leave us or forsake us is always at our side to be an ever present help in time of trouble.

- Psa 94:14 -
"For the Lord will not cast off His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance." ~ Psalm 94:14

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fellowship Meals

Some call them "potlucks." Some call them "covered dish dinners." Others call them "church, then eat." Fellowship meals have been commonplace in my life since I came into the world. Outside of being sick or out of town, I do not recall ever missing a Sunday fellowship meal that was organized by the local congregation in which I was a member. I have many, many stories about fellowship meals.

Fellowship meals are just another way of expressing that you are a member of God's kingdom. When you are in a family, you just do what the family does. You are supposed to. That is just the way it is. You come because this is where you belong. You come because there is nowhere else to be but where the church has gathered. You come because these people are the ones you prefer over all others. Those of you who regularly attend fellowship meals know what I am talking about.

Has anybody solved the fellowship meal mystery? You know, the fact that the attendance from morning worship to a noon fellowship meal generally goes down by fifty percent? I don't think it is the fear of germs. I am sure it is not that people are fasting on Sundays (no way). It can't be that people don't like crowds when they are eating, I have seen these people at restaurants.

I think the main reason why people don't come to fellowship meals, is that they are not as interested in building relationships as they need to be. Go back fifty years. People did not isolate, but looked for social opportunities. Ball games were not played on the Lord's day. Entertainment was more of a social experience because you went where the people were, rather than to the computer, television, or someplace else to find recreation.

This isolation from others has led us to become more interested in ourselves and less interested in others. Fellowship meals are really geared for people who care about their brethren. They are made for those who love to be with Christians. They are available for people who want to be influenced by people who know the Lord.

You can eat anywhere you want to on a Sunday afternoon. You can go to a restaurant, or home, or to some other engagement. But God's people will be meeting together this Sunday after services to make a difference in each others lives and in the lives of those who need the Lord. Will you join us?

"...imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." ~ 2 Corinthians 8:4