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The Places for Prayer

All Christians agree that prayer is an important part of their Christian walk.  Yet, how many Christians can say that their lives a marked by prayer?  The Apostle Paul’s letters have countless references and exhortations to prayer.  We see, for example, Paul writing to the Thessalonians, “We rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying” (1 Thess. 3.9b-10a).  So, if our lives are supposed to be marked by prayer, what are the ways that we can live this out?

The first place to begin is in our personal day-to-day living.  Who of us would go for days without talking with our spouse?  Why then would we do the same to God?  We should be on our knees on a daily basis praying to God.  We see Daniel, for example, who “he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed” (Dan. 6.10; KJV).  The psalmist also writes: “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray” (Psa. 55.17).  Wilhelmus à Brakel, a 17th century Dutch theologian, writes the following exhortation: “He who desires to be in an assured state, to have continual fellowship with God, to attain to a higher level of illumination and experience, and to fear God steadfastly, let him strictly observe his devotional time and let him not be neglectful in this—for the devil greatly strives to bring this about” (Christian’s Reasonable Service, v. 3, p. 465).  We should pray that God would sanctify us, mature us, and help us to be obedient to His will on a daily basis.

A second place that we should be in prayer is with our families.  How can we hope to raise a future generation of believers if we do not instill the need for and importance of prayer in our children.  How will a child see his need to depend upon God unless he sees his father on his knees pouring out his heart to God?  Husbands, intercede on behalf of your wives.  Wives, intercede on behalf of your husbands.  Parents, intercede on behalf of your children.

A third place that we should be in prayer is in our church.  The body of Christ should be in constant prayer for the Church.  Do we pray for the successful propagation of the Gospel?  Do we pray for the growth, maturity, and sanctification of the body?  Do we intercede on behalf of the thousands of pastors that mount the pulpit each week to preach the Word of God?  We should.  We at Geneva should regularly be in prayer for the pastor and his ministry, for the spiritual and numerical growth of the church, that God would help us be a Philippians 2 church, and that He would provide us with land and a building.  Could it be that we do not have a permanent home because we have not lived out James 4.2 as a body?   “You do not have because you do not ask.”  One of the best ways, of course, to pray with the body at Geneva is through the weekly prayer meetings.  We pray for one another, foreign and home missions, the persecuted church, our government, as well as the needs of the church.

Let us at Geneva be a people marked by prayer.  Let us be a people that pray in private, pray with and for our families, and pray with and for our church.  Let us always be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Eph. 6.18a).

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Just what does...

The Means of Grace

...mean, anyway?

One remarkable truth much neglected by Christians is known as the means of grace. By this we mean the outward ways through which God grants grace to the Christian. The means are like channels or avenues – designated paths by which God provides strengthening grace to his people.

The three means of grace are the Word (the Bible), the Sacraments (the Lord’s Supper and baptism) and prayer.

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Word: The Bible is the very word of God that he has given to his people. Scripture tells us that the Word of God is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) – that is, the original documents of Scripture come to us as the very will of God, without error or confusion.
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Sacraments: Perhaps you are not familiar with idea of sacraments. You may have heard baptism or the Lord’s Supper referred to instead as "ordinances." How can it be that either baptism and the Lord’s Supper be means by which God grants the Christian to grow in grace?
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Prayer: In prayer, we draw close to God and praise, thank and bless him for who he is, and offer to him prayers concerning our needs. We pray, just as we read the Word and take the Sacraments, in faith. Without faith, none of these means of grace is effective.