Two Factors: Prayer and Friendship
by Pastor Bill Geis
As the nation celebrates Fourth of July, I imagine many of the backyard grills have been dusted off and fired up. The nationís birthday party is a gathering time for friends. Itís also a gathering time for Christian community. Itís a time to use our freedom to honor God publically as we gather in churches. Itís a time to pray for the nation, our leaders and to pray for those who remain in the shadows of justice, liberty and happiness. Itís also a time for Christians to take the lead in examining our own hearts, to confess our collective national abuses, and to seek the mercy of God to live as people of grace in a prosperous, but dry and thirsty land.
The Prayer Factor
We have an awesome example of a true freedom fighter and prayer warrior in the Bible. His name is Daniel. He could have piously condemned his countryís sins. Daniel, however, prays with the heart of a true intercessor. He shares the guilt with his countrymen and appeals on their behalf for Godís mercy. Hereís a portion of one of his prayers for his country, ďO God, open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.Ē (Daniel 9:18-19)
For several years, Iíve made it a personal practice to pray often for our nation with prayers from Daniel 9 in front of me. His prayers keep me honest. They shape my heart for this land and our place in the world. They sharpen my eyes to see needs and injustices that I have overlooked. They temper my complaint and call me to be Godís light among my fellow citizens. They remind me that one man or woman praying for the nation matters to God. Iíd encourage you to look at Daniel 9 and pray with him this holiday weekend. Your baptism marked you with Godís name. When you prayÖ it really matters!
At the end of this week, the Go-the-Distance bike tour takes off from Hales Cornerís WI. Iíll be heading on a 650 mile bicycle trip making friends with urban ministries from Milwaukee to Cleveland. I will be here next Sunday because my bike tour stops at home. This week you should have received a mailing describing the bike tour. It is also appeal for us to support ministry with healthy hearts (regular exercise), hearts of prayer (praying for ministry) and hearts of sacrifice (making a financial commitment).
One of the GTD goals is
ďFactor 100.Ē This is our prayer that we would add 100 new members to St.
Johnís family in the next year. One vital way to encourage that growth in
our family is to invite friends to church. Next Sundayís 10:45 a.m. service
couldnít be a better time! Letís call it a ďFriendship Sunday.Ē Invite a
friend to church and following our services weíre having a
picnic/cookout with them at Denning Park (just Ĺ mile east of here on Willow Springs RD across from the High School). When you invite a friendÖ it really matters.
Iíll be at the picnic till 1:30p when Iíll head out on day 3 of the tour. That evening Iíll be in Gary IN to connect with new friends at a Lutheran Community called, ďUmbrella of Hope.Ē So I hope to see you next week at the picnic with your friends! And donít forget to follow all the Go-the-Distance bicycle tour events and updates this week at www.sjlagrange.com/GTD.
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505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 | www.sjlagrange.com
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