Praying in Faith
Theme for 2023: Faith Forward – The Year of Extraordinary Faith!
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
What a simple prayer. What a profound statement of faith! This prayer is usually taught to young children. For many it is the first prayer that they remember praying. In these two short sentences you find two key elements that we so desperately need from God: protection and provision. And in these two short sentences we see two key elements that we so desperately need in order to pray: surrender and trust.
When we’re asleep, we are in what I consider the most vulnerable position of surrender. You don’t control your falling asleep. Nor do you control what happens when you’re asleep. And we certainly don’t control our waking up, despite the best of alarm clocks. No, the task of sleeping and waking is in the hands of our Creator, God.
When King David’s own son, Absalom, was trying to kill him, David penned these words:
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. 6 I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
David’s confidence in God continues in Psalm 4:
I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
Sound familiar? “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” David could lie down and sleep in peace because he knew Who was keeping him. He was able to surrender to sleep because he had the assured protection of God Almighty, the One who “makes me lie down in safety.”
There is a trust element in operation every time you go to sleep. Remember, we’re not the ones who control it, God is. So, we go to sleep surrendering our lives to the Lord, but also trusting that no matter what happens – if I wake up or if I should “die before I wake,” I trust that my soul is in good hands…
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish
but may have eternal life.
There’s much more to that little children’s prayer than you thought! And there’s much more to praying in faith than you thought. For the pray-er there’s always those two elements of surrender and trust. Think about it, if you’re not going to surrender yourself and the situation to God, then why pray about it? By holding on to it, constantly dwelling on it, you’re telling God, “I’ve got this!” And as long as you’re holding on to it, God will let you. But when you surrender to the Lord, you’re echoing the hymn of old, “I need Thee, oh I need Thee, every hour I need Thee.” That’s a good prayer to pray for those who struggle with surrender.
As for the trust element, well, if you don’t trust God with the situation, why pray? Maybe you’ve heard the term: If you worry, why pray? But if you pray, why worry? And while that may sound too easy to be true, trusting in God is developed as you surrender little by little. Situation by situation…
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up, and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
Trust that God is your provider – then surrender your career plans, your retirement, and your finances to Him. Trust that God is a healer – then surrender your mind, body, and soul to His loving care. Trust that Jesus is your Redeemer – then confess your sins, surrender those unlovely thoughts, words, and actions to Him and receive forgiveness. That’s praying in faith!
Join us for worship this Sunday, as we continue our sermon series, Faith Forward: The Year of Extraordinary Faith! This Sunday’s message is: Praying in Faith. You can worship in-person or you can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
BMCR 5th Sunday Worship! The Black Methodists for Church Renewal will hold their regular 5th Sunday worship celebration at Green Trails Church this Sunday, January 29, 3:00pm. We are the host church, I will be the host preacher, and I’m so hoping to see you in the place! The message – Wanted: Dead or Alive! See you there! They are asking that we mask, so please bring your mask and let’s worship!
Leadership Training On January 28, from 10am to Noon, we will have a training session for those on the Leadership Board and the Nominations Team (NLDT). The training will be held at Union Memorial. If you are a member of either team, please RSVP your attendance via the email you received.
Black History Month Events:
Black Film Festival
Saturday, Feb 4, showing Soul. 11:00a-1:00p. An animated movie about a jazz player that will speak to the whole family!
Saturday, Feb. 25, showing After Jackie. 11:00a-1:00p. A documentary highlighting the STL Cardinal players Bob Gibson, Bill White, & Curt Flood, chronicling their journey through sports and life as Black men, and the resulting World Series Championships!
8:00 Bean Band & Art Show will pay a tribute to Black music as part of their concert on Friday, Feb. 10, 6:30pm.
Unity Lunch on Sunday, Feb. 26, after worship. We will celebrate with a catered lunch of healthy soul food selections, and a presentation on the African Schoolhouse Number 4, the one that we are helping to restore in Faust Park.
Faith Forward Challenge How are you doing with it?
First 15 – use the first 15 minutes of each morning to engage in:
GRATITUDE 5 minutes being grateful
RENEWAL 5 minutes reading
WORSHIP 5 minutes in prayer and meditation
First Day – spend the first day of the week in worship
First Fruits – increase your generosity of time, talent, & treasure