We officially ended our February month of prayer yesterday. For me it's been really good to have the encouragement to pray more and in different ways.
- The prayer room has been in pretty much continuous use during the daytime in February (we've still to crack those tricky midnight to 6am slots and actually do 24-7 prayer over a period of time - perhaps we'll go for that later in the year).
- I've personally really appreciated the Sunday evenings of prayer, creating space for us to flow in and out of prayer and worship. It was also great to have Brian Heasley from 24-7 prayer leading one of the evenings, and to pray in Bracknell, Sandhurst and Windsor last Sunday.
- The Sunday morning sofa conversations around prayer with different people from our community have been very insightful.
- I'm very grateful that so many people got involved in the day of prayer and fasting we called to pray for the right people to fill our kids worker job opportunities.
Please keep it up! Prayer is at the core of everything we do and everything we are. Keep up having a conversation with God all through the day, as well as finding specific times to spend with Him.
As a final encouragement we've got a guest blog from Sola Osinoiki, encouraging us to give thanks as a central part of our prayer life.
Have a great week,
Three Dimensions of Thanksgiving
Any request we make of God mixed with thanksgiving, is an awesome combination. Prayer has multiple dimensions. Paul says:
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1, Amplified Version)
As a church we need to become more accustomed to giving thanks. ‘Thank You’ is not a word used as much any more; we need to be full of thanksgiving expressing a heart of gratitude to God.
There are three dimensions of Thanksgiving as it relates to making a request of God:
1. Thanksgiving before a request
We see Jesus do this in John 11:41, where He gives thanks before raising Lazarus from the dead.
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’ (NIV)
So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes [toward heaven] and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me and listen to Me; but I have said this because of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You have sent Me [and that You have made Me Your representative].” (Amplified Version)
2. Thanksgiving during a Request
“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.” (Phillipians 4:6 Amp, Amplified Version)
3. Thanksgiving after a Request
In 1 Samuel 2:1-10 Hannah breaks out in thanksgiving.
We are encouraged to always enter his courts with thanksgiving for all He has done.
“Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
Finally, Paul encourages us:
In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Amplified Version)
As a final encouragement to be thankful take a listen to this song.