Monday, October 23, 2006

Prayer Posture #6

The Roman Catholic Church invented pews during the Middle Ages, right before the Protestant Reformation. Since the Protestant Reformation was essentially a Christian education movement with very long sermons, the Protestants kept the pews even though they rejected just about everything else they regarded as a ‘Roman invention.’ As a result, sitting has become the normal posture for prayer for many western congregations.

In 2 Samuel 7:18, David sat to pray. However, sitting for prayer was not prevalent until after the invention of pews.

But does it matter whether we sit, stand, or kneel to pray?
When it comes to prayer and worship, bodily posture makes no difference at all. You can pray anywhere, any time, and in any position. But in another sense, posture is of utmost importance. It is important to realize that the body and soul, physical and spiritual and the prayer and the posture that we take impact each other in profound ways. Our bodies can tell us a lot about how we are praying and worshipping. Not only does outward posture reflect an inward state, it also helps to nurture an inner attitude.

So today we will sit, but before we pray, Joshua Michalski wrote a poem and this will be our prelude into prayer.

A Spiritual Struggle
-Joshua Michalski

Here I am, stuck in the middle
Helpless, I have to choose
But which one?

One promises life,
One promises fun,
How do I choose, which one?

I like the sound of fun.....naturally
So I tried it
It WAS fun, easy and exciting, getting drunk and cigs
I liked it then...but I hate it now
How do I choose? Which One?

I didn't like my last decision, I lived it so long
I refuse to be like this, I've seen a better way
I need to choose, Which One?

I want that one
The Lord

I get down on my knees and start to talk to Him
"Some call you Father
Maybe you can set me free
I've been so troubled
And you've still done so much for me."

I've been in this dark room for so long
Not letting myself out
Trapped now
I can't get out

I cry out...silently
I'm worthless

I see outside these bars
The light promises so much
But can I trust it?
Am I stuck here forever?

No, I choose not too
I beg you GOd, set me free!
I choose You!
I've chosen right
Now the doors have opened
I Choose Him

'Now, I will know what it means to live for someone else
To give up myself
Thinngs will change
And times will get kind of strange
Still your love remains the same.' (POD)

POSTURE: Sitting, head down, eyes averted or closed, and hands clasped.

Father, a careless word from our mouths can ruin someone's day. It can throuw mud on a reputation and turn harmony into chaos. Help us to thinkbefore we speak, GOD. Make us the kind of people who understand the power of words. Give us hearts of love so that we may reflect to the world what is inside us. We can't stick a cup into a pool of mud and come up with clear water. Make us clean on the inside GOD, so that when we tell te world about your love, they don't run away. Make us worthy. Sit beside us. Wrap your arm around us. Show us the way. Create clean hearts in us GOD and as your children we will honor you! Amen.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Prayer Posture #5

A Prayer for Connectedness, Community and Friendship

Because all creation is the work of GOD all creation is connected. What I find comforting that it was GOD who said that it is 'not good' for man to be alone. That reassures me that no matter where I am or how I feel that there are people in my life that GOD has put there to support me in numerous ways.

But there are those times when I wished that GOD was right here in front of me with skin on….and in some ways he is. He has placed his ambassadors around me who come along side in my times of need, weakness, joy and sorrow and celebration.

Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Galatians 6:2
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

This morning we are going to “lay hands” on one another as a symbol of connectedness and a reminder that we are not on this journey alone.

So place your hands on the shoulders of those around you and pray with me.

"Father I thank you for the person on my left, and the person on my right
I thank you that you have brought them into my life today!
I pray a blessing on them and ask that they will sense your presence in a powerful way. Father there are those days where we hurt inside and our faith is weak…maybe it is today. We hide our faces behind masks so that people will not see the hurt. Give us the courage to remove the masks, and give us the ability to be honest and transparent with those that you have placed in our lives. May we learn to carry each other’s burdens with joy, love and tenderness….and this we ask in Jesus name….Amen."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Prayer Posture #4

Standing with hands clasped at the waist, head bowed, and eyes averted or closed.

This is the traditional posture of a shackled prisoner of war who is brought before the conquering king. The hands are clasped at the waist as if they were shackled in chains. The eyes are averted—in ancient times, since looking directly at one’s captor was insolent and a good way to get killed on the spot. This posture is for submissive petitions or for intercessory or penitential prayer, as we see in Luke 18:10-13.

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I want to thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

This is your day GOD
I will use it to honor you
I will stand here and inhale your air
I will feel the sunlight and the wind on my face
I will sing your songs
I will praise your name
I will remember you in all things GOD
When the sun goes down today I will remember you
I will thank you for the gift of living another week
I will thank you for getting me through the last one
Thank you for my family and my friends
Thank you for your patience
Thank you for the faith you put in me even when I let you down
Thank you for your kindness
Thank you for your peace that is beyond my understanding
Thank you for your forgiveness
Thank you for the Joy that You’ve given me
Thank you for your love GOD
I am your servant

Monday, October 02, 2006

Prayer Posture #3

Kneeling is the third posture; either with the head up, eyes open, hands open, or with head down, eyes closed, and hands clasped.

This is the traditional posture for requesting favors from a king, and so it became the traditional posture for prayers of repentance or supplication. The position itself is strengthened by the imagery of a person approaching a king to make a request. When doing this in prayer, we are putting ourselves at the mercy of the King by exposing our neck, which is an act that show complete vulnerability to the king’s power.

The Council of Nicea in AD 325 forbade kneeling on Sundays(GO FIGURE), because penitential prayer is not appropriate during a celebration of the Resurrection. In western Christianity, kneeling came to mean simple humility and submission, and so kneeling became the normal posture for most prayers in the west. However, to eastern Christians, kneeling still means repentance or supplication.

Matthew 18:26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

Luke 22:41He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Confession is an act of worship. We confess our sin out of reverence for GOD so that he might continue to claim more and more of our lives. Confession is worship that frees us. So today, kneel and in the quietness of your heart, Confess to GOD.

Before we are to take communion we are told to examine ourselves:
Even before we worship we are encouraged to....
Matthew 5 23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Psalm 66 says:
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Father GOD
For all the hurtful things that we have said to people that we love and care about. FORGIVE US. For all those things that we should have said but didn’t we ask that you would forgive us.
For ignoring the lonely or changing ourselves just to be accepted or for going along with the crowd and for listening to those who didn’t have our best interests at heart, Forgive us GOD.
Father forgive us for ignoring you, for asking for worthless things, for wanting what we do not need, and for taking what we do not want. And for taking for grant all the good gifts that you have blessed us with. GOD, our list can go on, but you are the GOD of second chances. We rely on the forgiveness and grace promised to us by Jesus Christ your son. May we come to the table this morning as new creations and may we sit with one another as forgiven people for we know that if we confess our sins You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Amen