Picking up loose ends–a reflection on prayer for the Church of England

February 10, 2015

Remember when God didn’t let Moses enter the Promised Land because he struck the rock rather than spoke to it? (Numbers 20:2-20) The punishment seemed harsh, but I believe God was trying to teach Israel the power of the spoken word when instructed by God’s Holy Spirit. Joshua seems to have caught on, commanding the sun to stop in its course in the military campaign against the five Amorite kings. The speed of that military campaign was stunning. (Joshua 9-10)

Regarding the heroes and heroines of the faith, scripture says

Hebrews 11:39-40 (AMP)
And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,
Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].

God had us in mind for the completion of His promises to the heroes and heroines of the faith. In His eyes, we are connected to the generations.

In Revelation, John described golden bowls filled with incense, which are prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8, Psalm 141:2) Even though the saints have died, God can still use their prayers! The prayers have vitality. God says that when He sends out His word, it shall not return to Him empty, but accomplish what He purposed. (Isaiah 55:11) One wonders what the implications are for prayers guided by the Holy Spirit and birthed in scripture.

When we pray the prayer of St. Chrysostom, we cannot claim Chrysostom as a prayer partner because he is dead. What happens to prayers that have been prayed by many saints through the centuries? Is there a synergistic effect created by generations coming into agreement? Based on Hebrews 11:39-40, yes. When we join our voices to their prayers, we are helping to bring their prayers to completion, to perfection.

During the religious revival under King Hezekiah, the praise team was composed of the descendants of Samuel. The revival took place hundreds of years after Samuel died, not in Samuel’s life. The generations came into agreement, and a revival was born. Our God is a God of generations, of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

The prayers through the ages are like beautiful threads of gold and azure and scarlet waiting to be woven into the tapestry of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The Church of England has a full repository of prayers for the church. In this season when the church is sore pressed, join your voices with the prayers of days gone by.

From St. Anselm, theologian and Archbishop of Canterbury:

“Hope of my heart,
strength of my soul,
help of my weakness,
by your powerful kindness complete
what in my powerless weakness I attempt.”

May it be so for Your servants in the General Synod and throughout the Church of England, dear Lord. Amen.

Some thoughts in this reflection came from “The Synergy of the Ages” by Dutch Sheets.


Mark, 2 Timothy, Psalm 78

February 10, 2015

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)
      Lord, there are so many out there who are causing your little ones to stumble — send St. Michael and all your legions of angels to protect your children.

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched– where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’ And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched– where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’ And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire– where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'” (Mark 9:43-48 )
      Help us recognize those things on the internet or TV or people that are causes of our sin and downfall. Help us cut them out of our lives.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)
      Holy Spirit, please help us encourage the youth and interns of this diocese to stir up the gifts you have given them.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
      Holy Father, help us recognize what is really true – that you do not want us to live in fear, but in confidence of your power and love and right thinking. Thank you.

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)
      Holy Spirit, please help us hold fast to sound teaching.

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength and his wonderful works that he has done. (Psalm 78:2-4)
      Holy Spirit, renew and strengthen our Sunday Schools and youth ministries throughout this diocese.

For he established a testimony in jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; (Psalm 78:5-7)
      Jesus, help our children and their children to walk in your ways.

And may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Psalm 78:8 )
      Father, we are a stubborn and rebellious generation — have mercy on us.

Yes, they spoke against God: They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? Behold, he struck the rock, So that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed. Can he give bread also? Can he provide meat for his people?” (Psalm 78:19-20)
      Father, you have repeatedly fed us in the wilderness. Thank you.

WORD: Trust me with your children.

Daily Lectionary
Tuesday: 78:1-39 * 78:40-72; Isa. 59:1-15a; 2 Tim. 1:1-14; Mark 9:42-50
Wednesday: 119:97-120 * 81, 82; Isa. 59:15b-21; 2 Tim. 1:15-2:13; Mark 10:1-16

Albany Intercessor


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