Pray for Kenya

African Salt WorkerThis morning I got up early to join the weekly prayer meeting for our Church, we meet down stairs in the Parish lounge. Our Church has all kinds of struggles and difficulties, but it has some wonderfully welcoming and committed people, and, not unrelated to that, it has a small group who faithfully pray together every week. Usually I can’t make the time because I need to be on the train to college.

tangent Just on a tangent for a moment, if anyone is moving to Sydney and looking for a new Church, give a thought to joining us at St Philip’s. We have more opportunities for the gospel than we can handle with our small team. Don’t settle for dogmatic slumbers in the suburbs – go to a Church on the mission field! Having said, that probably every Church feels the same way, and if you have better reasons to be somewhere else, I guess that’s ok…
still, we really need you. /tangent

read more

A Prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit

Window of St Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Dearest Father,
As the sun is full of light, the ocean full of water,
Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of your Spirit.

Pointless are all your purposes to love,
and the redemption paid by Jesus,
unless your Spirit works within,
regenerating my heart,
giving me eyes to see Jesus,
showing me the realities of the unseen world.

Give me your Spirit without measure,
as a flowing river in my thirsty wanderings.

I’m sick of my coldness, poverty, emptiness,
imperfect vision, lazy service,
prayerless prayers, praiseless praises.

read more

Worship – John 4:21

Where can God be found?worship

“Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you |Jews| say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”” (John 4:20-25 HCSB)

read more

On what we don’t know… (II)

How do we not know what we are made to know?

‘If humanity is made for the knowledge of God, why is it that many people do not feel the need of this knowledge, or seek God out?’
Original Post

Knowing YouWe need to step back again for a moment. It seems at this point every step forward needs careful prodding with the toes first to make sure we are on firm ground.

To say ‘I know’, could equally be a statement about facts or about relationships.
“I know how many elephants live in the zoo” and “I know Bob the Elephant keeper” are two different forms of knowledge.

read more

Approached by God (VI) – What to Pray?

Apart from telling us not to babble on in prayer, Matthew 6:7-13 also teaches us that the things for which we pray are reshaped as we come to understand that prayer begins with God.

“When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
“Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

(Matt 6:7-13 HCSB)

read more

Approached by God (V) – The Words of Prayer

When we meet together to pray, it’s easy to feel inadequate or not eloquent enough to lead in prayer.

Often I’ll sit in silence, or worse, fall into the verbose, formulaic, incantations. But I’ve found that the knowledge that prayer starts with God also helps me as I seek to understand how we should pray when we meet together.

The way we pray takes its shape from the relationship that we have with God.

I’ve lost track of the times I’ve stood to lead a group in prayer and begun my invitation for people to pray with me with the words ‘prayer is just talking to God’. It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard yourself, trotted out particularly during a campus mission week or ‘Open Church’ Sunday.

read more

Approached by God (IV) – who leads in prayer?

Romans 3:10-12 sets out God’s indictment against us with blushing starkness.

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one.” (Rom 3:10-12 HCSB)

It is this verse that sets in stone the fact that no human under their own steam will ever be reconciled with God. It is the awful news that sets us up for the Great News of the gospel: that God has acted for us, to reconcile us to himself through the death of Jesus.

read more

Approached by God (III) – Prayer starts with God

A character in a novel I was recently reading claimed that St Augustine was the smartest man who ever lived. Generally I try not to pay too much attention to the opinions of fictional persons, but it got me thinking, after all, that’s a pretty big rap.
Here’s a section from Book 1, Chapter 1 of Augustine’s Confessions:

Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on you or to praise you? but then, which is first, to know you or to call on you? for who can call on you, not knowing you? for the one that doesn’t know you, may call on you as other than you are. Or, is it rather, that we call on you that we may know you?

read more

Approached by God (II) – Prayin’ like a Pagan

So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word.
1 Kings 18:20-21 HCSB

You know the story. Elijah challenges the prophets of the false God Baal to a contest. It’s a contest to prove which God really is the authority in Israel. Is it Baal or Yaweh?

The contestants face only one challenge – to light a fire under a pile of wood on which has been placed slain animal as an offering. Not only is it a pretty easy miracle for a healthy god, it’s in the god’s interest to do it. Burnt sacrifices are what gods are all about. To the pagan mind, the smoke from the burnt offering is the food off which the gods live.

read more

Approached by God (I) – The Pressure to Pray

I’ve been asked to put some thoughts together for an article on prayer to go in the forthcoming edition of the AFES Salt Magazine. I thought I’d try a few of these ideas out online in a series of posts entitled “Approached by God”.
I’m finding that writing essays and articles is just plain old hard work, whereas blogging is fun. Maybe I can trick myself for a while…

The Pressure to Pray

Here’s an unnecessary confession: prayer is one of the areas in my Christian life where I feel like I constantly underperform.

read more