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Prayer Blog

March 27 Prayer Blog

Posted by Carol Gilbert on

Jesus:  Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
(John 14:13-14)

Most of us automatically close every prayer with … In Jesus’ name, Amen. I am so casual about it in my written prayers that I don’t even write out the phrase. I end with IJN, Amen. What do we mean by it? Is it a sort of stock closing to our conversation with God, equivalent to Have a nice day? Or do we think of it as a magic phrase that guarantees we’ll get what we prayed for?
When I ask for something in Jesus’ name, I am claiming that Jesus would say, “I approve this message.” It is consistent with his character and will. When Pastor Dave taught from John 14 last December, he explained that Jesus was talking to his closest disciples about doing his work after his departure from this earth and the coming of the Holy Spirit. In context, whatever you ask is connected to the knowing and doing of God’s will, not the accomplishment of our own will and desires.

Join me this week in paying attention to the phrase In Jesus’ name. Pause for a while before you add Amen to think about the content of your prayer. Ask: Have I prayed mainly about my own desires or about the kingdom of God? As I’ve prayed about my struggles, have I focused on the physical, material outcomes I want or on the spiritual dimensions? Here is perhaps an even better idea: Put In Jesus’ name at the beginning of your prayer instead of at the end. Keep it before you as you pray and invite Jesus to edit your prayer – to delete, add, change – so that it conforms with his ways and his will.
Here are a few suggested prayer topics for this week:
⦿  It was wonderful to worship and fellowship with our Chinese congregation yesterday. Pray for them, beseeching the Lord for the same blessings on them that we ask for the English congregation – godly leadership, sound biblical teaching, steady spiritual growth, unity.
⦿  The children of our two congregations have frequent opportunities to get to know each other because they share Sunday School classes. Pray that the two would be one, that there would be no “us” and “them” in Sunday School. Pray that the children of brand-new immigrants, who are just beginning to learn English, will feel safe and welcomed. May the Lord work through our Sunday School teachers to accomplish these things.
⦿  A new session of the ESL Bible Study has just begun with about 20 Chinese students and 4 English leaders. For the several students who are not Christians, pray that their hearts will be open to hear and respond to truth. Pray for the participants who are Christians – students and leaders – to grow in their faith. Ask God to give the Chinese students confidence and perseverance as they practice their English. 
⦿  Please lift up Robert, one of the men in the TLC program, who is starting a new job today with the Boys and Girls Club. He shared with me yesterday that he’s a little nervous. Pray that he will know the Lord’s presence with him as he gets to know his new colleagues, receives training, and begins to work with the children.
⦿  April 3-8 is “Test Drive a Small Group” week at Calvary – a chance for people who are not in a small group to try one without commitment. If you are already in a small group, ask the Holy Spirit to show you whom you might invite to visit your group. If you are not in a small group, ask the Lord if He wants you to check out this setting for discipleship and spiritual growth.
⦿  When VBS week rolls around every summer, we are all impressed and amazed by the imaginative décor, the polished songs and skits, the cool crafts, and the fascinating Missions room. We don’t see all the effort behind it. Some of the most difficult work of VBS is happening right now as the nine women on the VBS leadership team begin to turn concepts and ideas into reality. I sat in on one of their meetings yesterday and heard stories of discouragement; the path from concept to reality is not a straight line. I also witnessed one encouraging another to hope and trust in the Lord. Join the VBS leadership team in asking the Lord to pick them up and constantly guide them in His unmistakable way. Ask Him to help these women prioritize their many responsibilities. Pray that they will make time every day to meet the Lord in His word and in prayer.

In Christ,
Carol Gilbert
Calvary Community Church of Brea