Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

May: A Call to Prayer

John 17:18

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

IMG_0301We had an amazing discussion at our quarterly congregational meeting last night. The reason today’s devotional thought is late – is partially because that meeting was so great – I wanted time to think about today’s post – and I was tied up with something else this morning.

The group that met discussed our purpose. Of course – our calling – from God – is to make disciples to follow Jesus Christ. We get that command from the Great Commission – Matthew 28:16-20 – 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

There were loads of good ideas about our purpose and some ministries we could tackle that would have great impact – if enough people caught the vision and helped. As we discussed a few ideas and were getting a little excited – it was mentioned that before any great movement of God – we are called to pray.

man-in-prayerAs we talked a little longer – it came to me that I would like to challenge the church – First United Methodist Church of Laurel – to spend the month of May praying for our church’s purpose and what ministries we will tackle. Everything is on the table – every ministry we currently do and every good idea concerning ministries in the future. As great an idea as some ministries might be – we want to make sure it is something that God wants us to tackle with the resources available to us.

One thing that seemed to resonate with those attending – was a need to reach our youth and our younger adults. We talked about spending a block of the pastor’s time to work with our young adults. We also talked about hiring a 20-30 something intern/assistant pastor to work with that age group. This is just one of many subjects we talked about at our meeting.

We also talked about our Sanctuary and our two worship services. We talked about possible ways to have all worship services in the Sanctuary (don’t miss our next meeting – we talk about some great things).

We decided to try our next Congregational meeting on a Sunday after the second service. The date for our next quarterly meeting will be July 26th at 12:20 pm. But – until that meeting – we won’t be sitting still for sure. Our Administrative Board has some ideas to ponder – our Evangelism Committee and Worship Committee too.

As pastor – I would like to call the church to prayer for May for our purpose and for the ministries we should tackle. I would like to ask every Bible Study – every worship service – every meeting – every small group – choir – praise team – and any other group that meets in the month of May to spend 5 minutes praying for our purpose and ministries. I will pass along specific items to pray about on Facebook and through e-mail. I would also encourage every member and friend to spend 5 minutes (minimum) praying each day for our church.

I would encourage each group to discuss what they prayed about and to send me your thoughts and ideas (the ones you feel are coming from God in your prayer time). I will present them to church leadership as the month and months unfold.

One of the most amazing prayers in Scripture is Jesus’ prayer that John records. John places it just before Jesus’ arrest in His gospel account. It is amazing for a variety of reasons. Jesus prays – asking God to glorify Him (knowing what that meant – going to the cross). Jesus prays for His disciples. Jesus prays for all believers. I’ve included the whole prayer in today’s lesson.

John 17:1-26 – 1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Use this as a model and pray for your church if you would. See what God would have to say to you – to us. I would also highlight this prayer from Jesus. Jesus prayed it three times right before He was arrested – according to Matthew’s narrative. Matthew 26:36-39 – 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

As Christ calls us to ministry – we are reminded that Christ sent out the first disciples and prayed for them.  John 17:18 – As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  Let us pray for God to direct us as well.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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May 1, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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