The October tradition at Pacific Beach UMC is to explore our Stewardship commitments. Stewardship is the way we think of our faithful support of the ministries that take place as a part of this vibrant congregation. In the United Methodist tradition, we see this as: prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
We begin with prayer because there can be no Stewardship without first being in conversation with God. Prayer can be a quiet and personal thing, and prayer can be publicly led. Prayer can be a time of speaking to God, and can be a time of listening for God’s guidance. Prayer can also be daunting as we try to figure out the best way to say what we want to say or to quiet ourselves to hear. Thankfully, we have some guidance.
1Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2Jesus told them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom. 3Give us the bread we need for today. 4Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation.’”
5He also said to them, “Imagine that one of you has a friend and you go to that friend in the middle of the night. Imagine saying, ‘Friend, loan me three loaves of bread 6because a friend of mine on a journey has arrived and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7Imagine further that he answers from within the house, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8I assure you, even if he wouldn’t get up and help because of his friendship, he will get up and give his friend whatever he needs because of his friend’s brashness. 9And I tell you: Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. 10Everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, the door is opened.
11“Which father among you would give a snake to your child if the child asked for a fish? 12If a child asked for an egg, what father would give the child a scorpion? 13If you 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?”
Consider these questions:
- Do you have a favorite method of prayer? Do you kneel? Do you use the same (or similar) words every time?
- How often do you pray?
- In your time of prayer, do you find yourself speaking more? Listening more?
Post-Sermon Update on 10/03
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found by clicking this link (will open in a new tab).
Sunday’s exploration reminded me of an uncomfortable reality: I don’t pray as much as I think I should. I don’t say this only as a Pastor – though it’s surely true from that perspective – but simply as a human. As an individual human being, I don’t think I spend enough time focused on the Divine. And as a Pastor and leader in this congregation, I should have an even more robust prayer life.
I’m working on it. And I’m committing to step up.
Consider these questions:
- How has prayer changed you, changed a perspective, or affected your faith?
- In what specific ways can you increase the time you spend in conversation with God?
- What do you expect to happen if/when you increase this time in prayer?