I’d like to read two short passages from God’s Word and a poem as we prepare our hearts for prayer together this morning.
In the 121st Psalm it says:
“The one who watches over you will not slumber, Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps The Lord himself watches over you.” (Psalm 121:3-4)
In the 4th chapter of Mark’s Gospel, a furious windstorm flares up as Jesus and His disciples are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee in the evening to go over to the other side. While the disciples are in a panic as the boat is overtaken by the wind and waves, it says about Jesus:
“Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion. The disciples woke Him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t You care that we’re going to drown?’” (Mark 4:38)
Now a poem by Amy Carmichael who was a missionary in India for many years.
“You are the Lord who slept upon the pillow, You are the Lord who soothed the furious sea, What does it matter beating wind and tossing billow If only we are in the boat with Thee?
Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute While You are silent, and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while You, dear Lord, are in it?
Can our hearts faint if we quietly wait on Your will?” – Amy Carmichael
We gather together this morning; each in our own boats, tossed to and fro, with sometimes heart-wrenching and dangerous waves leaping over the bow.
Our cares are often overwhelming, and like those 12 men that night, we fret feeling that You must have fallen asleep in the back of our boat, careless as to our condition.
“Why are you afraid?” You asked them. And You ask the same of us today.
You slept in the back of that boat because You had the calm assurance that Your Father was in complete control, working out His purposes, His will. Your heart was quiet in that perfect will, and You needed rest that night. And so do we.
As we gather together here this morning to bring to You our joys, thankfulness, worries, cares, concerns, pains, fears and doubts, may we be reminded that everything is necessary that You send our way; nothing can be necessary that You withhold.
You assigned those 12 men to get into that boat that evening, knowing that the storm would come, but that they would be with You, and You were in Your Father’s will. No better or safer place on earth existed at that moment.
Give us quiet hearts to be content with Your wise and loving assignments, because You love us and will never leave us. Help us remember that in the curriculum for our lives that You’ve laid out, the things about which we’re tempted to complain are likely the very instruments you’ve allowed into our lives to shape us into what You want us to be, Your children.
We pause now and come to You with our thanks and our many needs, remembering that only the truly helpless, truly pray.
Father, we rejoice that Marge Edmond’s initial treatment was successful, and we pray for continuing success during tomorrow’s proceedings and speedy recovery for her, and peace of heart for Jack.
We rejoice in the provision of a new member of our administrative team and we ask You to bless Lynne as she brings her heart and skill to this position and for her to assimilate well onto the team. Thank You for her love for this church.
Father, we rejoice in the provision made for the roof. As we come this morning with such grateful hearts, we pray that the new roof will provide shelter for many in the years to come, in the same way that we’ve enjoyed its shelter these many years.
We rejoice in the outpouring of love and support for Esperanza, and we pray that the Moms and babies in need would feel our love for them, as we pray for them and continue on in finding ways to put feet to our faith in blessing them in their time of need.
We hold in our hearts and in prayer Roy Britton, please guide the medical staff to identify the cause of the problem and give them wisdom to treat it. We know You are holding Roy in Your Hands and we look to You for his protection, healing and recovery.
We pray for Denise, Joan and the FOCUS team as they plan for an exciting trip to Lebanon this fall. As you gather together the team that will go, may they be reassured that their assignment does not require performance, but only a response in simple faith, resting in the knowledge that whatever may come, with You in their boat, they will have all they need to do all the work You’ve called them to.
We ask You to continue to use our brothers and sisters in Lebanon as they undergo trials of many kinds while living out the Gospel. May they feel Your steadfast presence and peace that comes from knowing that You will never leave them nor forsake them.
There are many that we have sent and support Father, who are at this very moment in parts of the world unknown to many of us, but are moving ahead with their assignment. We pray that the seeds planted, watered and tended by them would bear much fruit that You would allow them to see and be encouraged by.
Father, our staff loves us, serves us, and leads us in being equipped for each of our assignments. As they put their hands to the oars to take us to the other side of the lake, may they be protected from the dangers of the storm as well as the deceit of the sea’s stillness, finding blessed assurance in only that You are with them and not in any wind in their sails. Allow them the peace to rest on the pillow with You, knowing there is no better or safer place they will ever be.
We lift up to You our many plans as we look to a new ministry year, the Video Scavenger Hunt, Pastor Jeremy’s ordination celebration, Connection Sunday, building the Children’s Ministry Leadership team, startup of many small groups and Bible studies, retreats and so much more. Provide and protect as we endeavor to live out the Gospel in this church so that all those around us would see what we do here and be drawn to You.
Father, many of us have prayers that we’re unable to utter this morning. Needs so great, pain so sharp, memories that are un-eraceable. May Your Spirit intercede on our behalf with these inner groanings and may that same Spirit hold us in our age long minute and bring the comfort and peace we so desire as we wait on You for relief in our helpless estate.
We thank You Father for the faithful delivery of Your Word to us each and every week by our Pastors.
May Your Word delivered this morning truly be the light of our way; what You say help us do, where You send help us go, without fear but in love, trust and simple obedience, knowing that in acceptance of Your will lies the peace we earnestly seek, regardless of the storms raging around us.
We pray this all for Your glory, in honor of Your Sovereign purposes, and according to Your perfect will, and all because of what Your precious Son Jesus did for us who left being with You to come, serve, suffer, die and rise on high conquering death, hell and the grave all so that we could be reconciled to You and be with You forever. Thank You for this assurance that our hearts can rest in quietly, no matter the storm.
Dave Kneller, Elder