Compelled to Pray
January 24, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
“People who know their God are before anything else people who pray,” writes J.I. Packer (Knowing God, 28).
Packer is reflecting on the powerful transformation that occurs when we receive Christ by faith and begin to understand the grace God worked on our behalf. The apostle Paul exalts this work of God when he says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). And the apostle John celebrates God when he says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
These two verses emphasize God’s love for us, which alone draws us into a sweet relationship with God. As we dive further into knowing God, his justice, his power, his majesty, his sovereignty, his omniscience, etc., we are drawn all the more into a humble, dependent relationship with God. Packer argues that prayer is the natural response to knowing such an awesome God.
Megan Hill goes a step further when she says, “In truth, our new relationship with our God compels us to pray” (Praying Together, 21). Knowing God and enjoying our glorious relationship with him drives us to be people of prayer.
For a church like Oak Hills that “longs to know God’s astonishing grace,” and gives much time to study God and his gracious ways in Scripture, prayer should be a defining mark of our community, right? Prayer marks our worship services. People pray for each other’s needs in Life Groups and Bible studies. We hold a monthly Prayer Gathering for intentional time to pray for the ministry of our church. I trust that individual members, married couples, and families are praying together. Can we say, however, that “before anything else,” we are “people who pray”? Does our knowledge of and relationship with God “compel us to pray”?
The desire to grow as a praying community has been on my heart and the hearts of our elders. Therefore, one of our top priorities for 2019 is to give attention to and encouragement for prayer. To this end, we are calling the congregation to three Prayer Summits, evenings where prayer is studied, is practiced, and grows as our heartbeat. These are scheduled for three Sunday evenings: February 24, March 24, and April 28. We will share a fellowship meal together, join our voices together in singing hymns, and give our attention to prayer. For our study of prayer, I invite everyone to read Megan Hill’s book, Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches. We’ll have copies at church this Sunday for $9. Currently the book is only $2.99 for Kindle. Megan breaks down her book into three parts: The Foundations, the Fruits, and the Practice of praying together. These will serve as the launching pads for the discussion at our Prayer Summits.
Mark these dates on your calendar. Pick up a copy of Praying Together. And join us as we seek to be “people who pray before anything else.”