A Reason to Pray
The giver is better than the gifts
By grace received through Jesus, we have been given access to commune with the Godhead; the Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit. This is amazing! Prayer is interacting with Jesus, whom the gospel of John says was in the beginning, who all things were made through, who is life and light for all. He is alive, actively reigning as king over all, and He gave us access to speak with Him anytime. Incredible! Jesus showed us the way when He lived among us by continually praying to the Father and walking in the Spirit, so a life devoted to following Jesus also becomes a life devoted to prayer.
Paul says, "...pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast to what is good..." - extracted from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 ESV
Paul says, "...The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God..." - extracted from Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
Jesus says, "...and will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily..." - extracted from Luke 18:1-8 ESV
Jesus says, "...And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened..." - extracted from Luke 11:5-13 ESV
Jesus teaches us to pray (Matthew 6:5-15) by coming to the Father and finding our good things in Him and through Him. We don't need to be confused by circumstances or afraid to approach Him, and we shouldn't look elsewhere. Through prayer we can receive the peace of God that will guard our hearts and minds.
Paul says, "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." - Romans 8:14-17 ESV
Jesus says, "...What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!..." - extracted from Luke 11:5-13 ESV
Paul says, "...And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus...." - extracted from Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
A rich prayer life shouldn't detach us from the Bible and Gospel Community. Through these, the Spirit works in us to change us as we practice loving God by living out His commands. This is how we learn His ways and more about who He is and what He wants. We will come to a deeper understanding that the God we commune with in prayer is wholly consistent with scripture, relationally oriented and community focused. Through these "gifted by God" resources we are meant to "test everything; hold fast to what is good."
With that in mind, we pray that Jesus would use the prayer opportunities at Westside to show us that His family, the Church, is one in Him. And through Him, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. That as we pray for the rhythms and needs of His family, for His city, and for His image bearers that don't yet trust Him as their Lord, we would grow in love for the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and one another.