Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fifth Sunday...in the South

As is the tradition in many small, rural towns in the South, 5th Sunday was a combined worship service where the Methodists and the Baptists each go to the others' churches for service. Don't know where the tradition began, but it is always a joy to have a full church, whether the Baptists coming to the Methodist church, or vice-a-versa. The tradition is that the visiting church provides the message/sermon. This past Sunday, the Methodists visited the Baptist church and our pastor delivered the message.

I have to say that it was powerful! While she was preaching, I was overcome by the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is a personal overcoming...but it was present. As I looked at her delivering her sermon, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in me, personally, but noticed something. There was a cloud surrounding her. Her message was potent and I was caught up in the presence stronger than usual. She seemed to be under a cloud. There was a presence that made me blink more than once, and it persisted. The presence of God was there.

She preached on 2 Timothy about how Paul had lifted up Timothy to God. She noted that Paul lifted up his life, his accomplishments for Our Lord, and focused on the word..."remember". She stated that one Greek interpretation of the word meant to make memorials, aka, monuments for the person being prayed for in the presence of God in his throne-room. That was a powerful thing to embrace. Suddenly, I found myself reflecting upon all those for whom I've prayed for for healing to have a trophy room in God's throne-room. What a wonderful thing to embrace.

I've changed my prayer life since. Now, when I pray for someone, I lift up all their Godly traits...whether it be a struggle or a praise, I lift them up. Is this strange or what? I make an exhibit for God for the person being prayed for, then tell God to look at it, and acknowledge it, then answer my prayers for that person. I pray also that I'm not off base in my prayers. But, God knows each and every one of us...and He finds pleasure in us lifting up one who needs Him. So, I lay out the trophies of each and every supplicant for God to see and recognize, prior to my intercession.

It is a joy. Truly, a joy. Through Christ, our sins are forgiven, but through supplication on the behalf of a needy follower, filling God's throne-room with the attributes of another follower, gives a special power to prayer for them.

That's what's happening to me in my personal prayer life. Am I weird or right on? Don't know...but will continue in this manner of prayer.

8 comments:

Mark H said...

Am I weird or right on?

I dunno. But you're not alone! I find myself doing this a lot when I pray for people on the streets. I thank God for what I see in them. I thank God for his love for them and as the Spirit leads I start to declare His blessing over them. Can I say that I perceive God's pleasure and presence as I do so? A connection has been made. This is intercession isn't it?

All are made in the image of God. All are sons, whether currently orphaned or restored. We should recognise good potential in every single one of us, and we should honour the source of that potential.

Thanks for a great post.

flyawaynet said...

It sounds like a great idea to me. And if you're doing it in the persons presence it may do a lot for them to hear you pray those good things about them to God. I will try and apply this. Thank you.

Brother Marty said...

Mark, Flyaway....
I continue to be moved by this revelation on the manner of prayer we offer for others. WOW...I've had feedback off the blog that is so inspiring and humbling. This is how I will pray for others from this point on. Seeing them, memorializing them, and offering up their faithful works to The Lord prior to supplication for them. I'm reinvented towards a new way to pray for others.

greg hazelrig said...

I don't think that's weird at all.

2 other things bro marty: first I found it interesting that your churches gather and the Baptist Church allows a female to preach in their sanctuary. That's great. Do most of the Baptists attend?

second is that I have been praying harder for the past 18 hours for a particular individual than I think I ever have before. I spoke with him yesterday and he's trying to let go and accept God's gift of salvation. He's really depressed right now because Satan is trying to confuse him and tell him he's got to do all these things first and be this specific kind of person. I have felt that I was to pray for him continually. I only bring this up because I know how much of a spiritual person you are. So I ask that you would help me by adding this young man to your prayers today that He would give in and that God would bind the spiritual forces of evil from him.

Thank you.

In the love of Christ,
greg

Brother Marty said...

Greg,
Concerning our female pastor speaking in the Baptist sanctuary, about 10% of the Baptists left after Sunday school. Our pastor is loved by most in the community as she is the only full time ordained minister in the area. She ministers to anyone and everyone. A year ago the Baptist church's associate pastor's son was killed in a car accident. She was one of the first to go and minister to the family. She has also ministered to many in their congregation who have had losses and she is loved for her deep compassion for others. So, yes, they welcomed her and the message she brought.

Concerning the person you have been in constant prayer for...yes, we will pray for him as you ask. Please email me at the address on the top left of the blog and give me his name. It will be kept confident and shared only with prayer partners.

I must share that yesterday in our praying for others God blessed me with a unique experience. As we read each name, if I knew the person I saw their image, and for those whom I didn't know, God provided an image for me to see representing them. It was like God was wanting me to more completely lift up those in need than I'd been able to in the past. I pray that He continues to reveal a deeper means of prayer for me with each passing day. I'm not only pleased to pray for the person you lift up, but am anxious to do so. God is GREAT!

greg hazelrig said...

Thank you Bro Marty. I just got a text from him saying that when I get time today that he needs me. I pray that God will guide our conversation and that His presence will be made known. I will email you his name.

I am glad to hear that your pastor is respected there. There are so many places where a female minister is not accepted in our own denomination, much less the baptist denomination. She must be a special person.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marty,

I thought Martha had one of her better sermons 5th Sunday as well. It is my feeling that before the Lord returns, a large portion of the unbiblical notion of man-made denominationalism (Methodism included) will be removed by His spirit and restored back to it's New Testament roots. Want it be nice to be just a brother or sister in Christ in His Kingdom come NOW! All of us equal. No reverends, no fathers, no separations, and no heirarchy other than Christ our Lord at the head of THE FATHERS kingdom. I wish we could paint over the "United Methodist" part of our church sign out front and just be Christians. Oh!, the number of community people I've heard in conversation give these same sentiments on denominationalism.

Sincerely,
Larry

Brother Marty said...

Larry,
Thank you for your input. I agree, that we are all God's children while we cling to denominations. I'm pursuing starting a non-denominational fellowship in the community, and perhaps you would like to be included. I'll pray on this more than ever tonight.
I don't know where or how it will happen, but I like your enthusiasm for the matter. Today I visited with the new SUSCC volleyball coach at the local market and we discussed the need for a praise and worship service. I'm on the team!
Let's talk next time together, and respect Catherine's recent loss, and go from there.
Marty