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My Prayer for Sheila.

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Writing this prayer in the middle of the night helps me stay awake and focused. This is done as part of the prayer chain for Sheila’s recovery.

Our Father in heaven,

You are the God almighty. The big and awesome one.  You created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. You created man from dust and breathe life to him. All these things seem fictional but it’s not. It’s truer than the story of Edward and Bella, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. It is more honest than an innocent child telling the truth. These things are fact and You made them so because You can. You are the one true God, and you only need to SAY it to make things come to being. Who’s to stop me from thinking that You placed the idea of iPod and iPad in Steve Job’s mind? Who gets the credit for providing for the day-to-day needs of Fil and me? It is You, God. Only You. I sit here in front of my PC, telling You how I feel, and here I am, in complete awe of You. Christian worship songs are coming to my mind, full of praises to Your goodness and mercy.

I am sorry Lord for my sinfulness and selfishness. I am sorry if I only talk to You wholeheartedly when I need something from You. I am sorry if I barely say hello during good days, and nag You for days in bad times. I am sorry if I am more interested in reading my JD Robb books than the Bible. I’m sorry for sleeping late and waking up late all the time. I’m sorry for not taking care of my body, not visiting the doctor when I need to, I’m sorry for not being a good steward of Your goodness. Father, I’m a very selfish and inconsiderate person and You know that. But despite of it, You chose me to be Your child. You first loved me. You picked me up from wherever I was and placed me here with Fil, living a better life, and serving you more. Still, I sin. No matter how good you are to me, I still sin. I can’t help it. Even when I say sorry, I know that next time, I will do it again and again. I will be late for Church again, I will pick fights with Fil again. Boy I’m glad Jesus was there to save me from my wickedness!

I thank You for using various circumstances to bringing me close to you. I thank you for providing good business, and for letting the Holy Spirit to nudge me in paying my taxes (though it really hurts). I thank You for being true to Your promises. Last week, we barely had 6k in our bank account: all income went to pay the bills. Still, HS nudged Fil and me to withdraw the  4k and offer it to You. Now what do I have? You honored our faith and provided us with more! You know what we need and You gave it to us at the right time. Two months ago, I kept praying for self-control and weight loss. I prayed and prayed, and You also answered my prayer with a yes. I feel like Solomon asking You for wisdom. You are one awesome God.

Now I come to You once more, in full seriousness, to intercede for Sheila Marie Tan. There are many people who are sick today. People die every single minute. But Father, we are coming to You as a  universal church. We do not know each other and yet we share one common bond. We are Your children. And the Bible says, we just need to ask, and You’ll grant it to us if it is Your will. So Father, now, we are asking. Healing for  our sister in Christ, Sheila Marie Tan. I don’t know her personally, I haven’t met her. But I know her parents. I know how her father always try to help those who suffered from dengue. He would take time to visit the patients, bring tawa-tawa plants, go with pastors to pray for the sick. I have worked with her mother for a short while, teaching her group one dance number for Jubilee Christian Academy Parents Auxiliary’s presentation. Why them, Lord? Why now? Why her? I know things happen for a reason, but why should it happen to those who  love You a lot, and those who serve You? Is this a punishment for sin, like what You did to David? Is this a situation similar to Job’s? I sure hope that this is just a test of faith for the entire family, and that You will show through this situation that we are once more victorious over death and sickness. Over sin and suffering.  I know heaven is a nice place. But can we ask for a longer time for Sheila to be with us? Grant her a new heart Father. A new and working heart. I pray for healing and recovery Father. I pray that there will be no further complications, and that each of her good cells are strong enough to work and adapt. At Your own pace, in Your perfect timing. I pray that you will sustain her family members and all those people who cares for her. I lift up to You Marvin. I hope that this situation shall pass and end happily. Heal her completely Father, and let her be a living testimony of your goodness. Use her and her loved ones to win souls for You. I haven’t met her yet, and I really, really want to meet and talk to them personally, and help them plan for their wedding. Please Father, please?

Lord, I’m really counting on you. Sige na. please? please? please?

I pray these in Christ’s name,

Amen.

Father, I’m making my prayer public, so that WHEN You honor it, people will realize how great You are, and they will follow you because of this. Father ha?

Is this you?

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Are these statements true in your community, or is it just true in mine? Think of all the communal activities you are doing in your home church.

  1. Almost all Christians go to church to listen to sermons/messages.
  2. Substantial number of believers attend bible studies or fellowships to grow in their faith.
  3. Several devotees offer their extra time and effort to serve as ushers, praise and worship team members, Sunday school teachers, etc.
  4. Only a small percentage of church members attend prayer meetings.

Today’s message in church made me ponder about prayers, specifically corporal praying time. How come only a few people attend it? As I reflect about it (I do not attend prayer meetings),  these are the possible “reasons” or “excuses” I come up with:

  1. I don’t know how to pray publicly. It is one thing to pray directly to God, it is another thing to pray with someone who can hear you–is my grammar correct? Did i remember everything? Am I cohesive? Did I say the right things?
  2. Why attend prayer meeting when I can talk to God directly? My prayer should just be between me and God and it is too intimate to share with others.
  3. I bet only the pastors, elders and deacons will be there. They are the ones “required” to go, right?
  4. I believe it is the task of the older generation to attend such, particularly the women. I will just be out-of-place.
  5. It is not important enough for me to devote my time to.
  6. I do not have the gift of tongues.

See how creative we can be when it comes to making excuses?

It is important to know that prayer meeting is not a formal gathering. In my experience, it is a gathering of volunteers who are willing to act as intercessors: All the concerns of the church or the organization will be in a list, and there will be a brief discussion explaining each item. Then, you will be tasked to group into 2 or more people. There may or may not be a brief sharing of personal matters then, and after that, you divide off the list and start praying to God directly, one at a time or “popcorn” (all together at once), each talking to God intimately.

Intimidating? Yes it is–if you do not have regular communication with God. But if you do pray to God regularly, you may find a deeper meaning in corporal prayer, where the family of God pray together, at the same time, for the same purpose.

Most of the time, we do not know what we should say when it comes to prayer, but keep in mind that when we speak out loud, we are talking to God, and not to the people we are praying with. It is ok to keep things short and straight to the point. It is ok not to use religious terms, and speak straight from your heart. It is ok to burst into a song of worship, open your eyes, stammer, or read from a piece of paper. The heart and the sincerity of your prayer are more important than “sounding good” and “being correct.”

One way to learn how to pray is to read the Bible. There are a lot of prayer samples there, but it doesn’t mean that we should recite them verbatim. When we close our eyes, and concentrate on talking to Him, the Holy Spirit will work in us and teach us what to say. The Bible is God’s way of communicating to us. Prayer is our way of communicating to Him. Isn’t it amazing that we can do this anytime, all the time?

For those who are new with prayer, here is a simple guideline I learned from our church: A.C.T.S.

1. Adoration: We can start our prayer with praises and compliments — telling God what we know to be true (e.g. Holy, Faithful, Just, Merciful, Awesome, Dependable, Good friend, etc.).

2. Confession: We tell God about the things we have done wrong, and He is there to listen to us admit repentance over the sins we have committed (e.g. I am sorry for losing my temper every time I drive).

3. Thanksgiving: Reflect on the things God have made possible for you and offer Him your genuine gratitude. (e.g. thank you that despite my shortcomings, You still make sure I am safe and sound).

4. Supplication: The Bible said, “ask, and you shall receive.” This is the part of the prayer where we can do that. Do not be afraid to ask for the things you need, for He is a great provider.  We should also not put God in a box and let Him work according to what we want. He is in control–let Him deal with the details. (e.g. teach me on how to become a better driver).

End you prayer by using Jesus’ name, for it is only because of what Jesus has done that we can talk directly to the Father.

After writing this, I would like to pray to God now:

Dear God,

Thank you for being such a powerful God that you are in control of everything, be it the weather or the events that happen in our lives. I am sorry for not being serious about my prayer time. Despite that, You still care for me, and still love me and I appreciate that. Teach me to honor You more by prioritizing time spent with You. Teach me to love my church and attend our prayer meeting. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.