Prayer Calendar: Cleansing Prayer

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Our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst, Dave Acree, contributes to our monthly EFCC Prayer Calendar. To subscribe to that, click here.

“Too much” or “too little” often wins out over “just enough.” We humans don’t do “balance” very well. Take sin for example.

In years past we tended to make too much of sin. We saw sin everywhere. Not just biblically identifiable sin but also culturally determined (by the church) sin, like going to movies or drinking alcohol or shooting pool down at the “hall.” We became so burdened down by sin that life became almost unlivable and our non-church friends (if we had any) saw us as holier-than-thou hypocrites, not something they wanted to be part of.

In times present, we tend to make too little of sin. We’ve managed to do away with most of those culturally determined sins but even the biblically identifiable ones are often now seen as too narrow and binding and perhaps in need of some redefinition, or just ignored. We don’t much like to talk about sin anymore.

In years past confession, or cleansing prayer, was a regular part of our prayer menu, both in public gatherings and in private prayer. Not so much in times present.

If you haven’t read Psalm 51 recently, you should. It’s good for the soul. There’s something cleansing and refreshing about confession of sin. Of course, that means we have to recognize and own up to our sin.

Maybe that’s why 1 John 1:9 is one of the first verses from the Bible we have people memorize. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Back in the 15th century, Ignatius, developed what he called the “examen.” Let me recommend a modified form for you today. At the end of each day think back to where you saw God at work and thank him for it. Also, think back to where you walked away from God’s path and sinned. Confess it and be cleansed.

We all need a daily “prayer bath.”

Prayer Calendar: Deep Prayer

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Dave is the EFCC’s Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. His regular contributions are excerpted in the monthly Prayer Calendar.

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Have you ever tried to explain something when you knew you didn’t know how to do it? Well, here goes! Prayer comes in all sizes and shapes. One isn’t better than the other. They all fit a certain moment with a compelling need.

 

Many times I find myself praying what I call “grocery list” prayers. I go grocery shopping with a list, either electronic on my phone or an old-fashioned piece of paper with items listed. I find the item and delete or scratch it from the list.

 

I’m more comfortable praying like that. I have a list of concrete, specific items or people to pray for, pray and tick them off the list having fulfilled my responsibility. However, I don’t find many examples of that kind of praying in the Bible, if any. Maybe they did some praying like that, but they don’t record it for us to see.

 

I think I default to such praying because it’s neat and clean, measurable and takes the least amount of time and effort. I hate to admit that, but there it is. I think there are times that God wants more than that. He wants us to pray below the surface where it’s messy.

 

He wants us to pray deep.

 

I’m preaching Sunday on Romans 10. Paul starts the chapter like this. “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” He started off chapter 9 by saying that he had such a desire for his countrymen that he was willing to be cursed and separated from Christ for their sake. I wish I could have heard his prayer. It wasn’t an item on a grocery list. It was deep and messy.

 

To the church at Colossae, along with Timothy, he prayed, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.” That’s deep!

 

I’m trying to wean myself off of defaulting to “grocery list” praying. Of course there’s a need for such prayer but there’s also a need to go deeper. Why not join me!

 

Pulse Podcast 014: Tearfund

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We at the EFCC have had a decades-long relationship with World Relief Canada. That continues on with their new name, Tearfund Canada. This name brings them into clear alignment with a massive global relief and development partnership. Tearfund has operations that span the globe, and intervenes directly when disasters hit.

Follow along as Neil and Brad get a taste (literally!) of what Tearfund is doing around the world.

 

Here is a handy shortened version that you could play in your church (or small group, etc.):

 

And here is the audio-only version:

The Pulse: A Resolution You Can Keep

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Dwight is our Stewardship Catalyst. He connects with donors directly to help raise money the EFCC needs to fund its operations, and he helps people develop awareness of, and skills in, financial stewardship.

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Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you keep them? I remember reading that over 90% of people who make a New Year’s resolution will break it within the first month.

I have a New Year’s resolution for you to consider. Have you made your will, or have you recently updated it? Statisticians tell us that 50% of Canadians do not have a will. And even more alarming is that that same percentage also applies to Christians!

What’s the value of having a will and making sure it is up to date?

Let me suggest 3 benefits:

  1. Peace of Mind: If the Lord calls you home tonight, you know that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, not the government.
  2. Provision: Your family, your church, the ministries you supported, the charities you gave to, will all benefit as to your directive and no one else.
  3. Protection: You want to make sure your assets will be protected to provide the maximum benefit to your family and loved ones.

The Evangelical Free Church of Canada has entered into an arrangement with Abundance Canada to assist our churches and people in the whole area of wills and estate planning. They have representatives across Canada who will come to your church and conduct “gift and estate planning” seminars. They will also meet individually with people to answer questions and help get everything ready and in order before going to meet with a lawyer. More and more churches across our denomination are availing themselves of this opportunity.

The feedback has been extremely positive!

On a personal level, both Bill and Deb Taylor and my wife Joanne and I have recently done this. We were both pleased and impressed! These reps are personal, professional, and are there to assist in any way they can. And they will come to your church free of charge!

Not sure about making a New Year’s resolution? I encourage you to consider either updating your will or making it for the first time! Read over the 3 benefits listed above. It’s all gain with no pain!

Check out the Abundance Canada website. Or contact me (via Home Office).

Wishing you a healthy and blessed New Year!

Pulse Podcast 013: Incarnation

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Viewer warning: There are some bad attempts at word play in this. Sigh. We can’t control each other. Or ourselves, apparently.

We want our podcasts to be generally applicable whenever they’re watched, or listened to, so while this is inspired by the Christmas season, it isn’t totally Christmas-themed; Incarnation is relevant all through the year, but especially at Christmas, when we reflect on how it all began.

We have a preview version here, which we invite you to play in your worship service and encourage people to check out the longer one:

And finally, we have an audio-only version: