From the Pastor: Crazy Month with a Sweet Reminder

Dear TVBC Family,

Well, January is now over.  That means spring is right around the corner (and Valentine’s Day—guys, don’t forget!).

As I was keeping track of my ministry mileage this morning, it dawned on me that I drove more miles to church functions in January than most of the end of 2016 combined.

Church, we have had a busy month of hospitalizations, serious illnesses, and hard-fought day-to-day life struggles within our church and our families.

Yet, God has been faithful (as He always is).  And it’s difficult to see how any church can thrive in these times without prayer at its center. No power in us at all.

And if this month has taught me one thing as pastor, it’s this: We must constantly be reminded of what we all know – We neglect prayer to our peril. We can accomplish nothing in our own wisdom and power.

What we American Christians often say is that we “pray without ceasing”—that we pray “as we go”—that we immerse every second in prayer. In reality, though, if we’re honest, what we do, more frequently than not, is make prayer a holy afterthought.  You know, a thing we sandwich in to the “more important” thing we’re doing in the moment or on the calendar, whether that’s knocking out our to-do list of errands or exercising or fixing something in the garage or what-have-you.

Don’t miss what I am saying: We should be praying as we go. Our constant occupation: Rejoice always (I Th.5:16); pray without ceasing (I Th.5:17); meditate day and night upon the Word of God (Ps.1:2)

But being super-busy is making us sick. We must slow down. And we must dedicate genuine time, arranged and deliberate and main time, to God.

Over the years of life and ministry, I have come full circle on this. I used to reason that maintaining a “quiet time” of prayer was legalistic and taxing at best.  And I still believe it is if we make it a rule and propose no one can have a healthy spiritual life without one. However, I do believe now that it is extremely important in our progressively thoughtless and increasingly agitated modern life.

Friends, Jesus did it. Mark 1:35 (which we will study in two weeks), Luke 5:16, and Matt. 14:23 tells us that our Savior often withdrew to isolated places to pray. And, trust me, Jesus, the God-man, was a very, very busy dude. Busier than you or I would ever be on our busiest days! But Jesus made time to be still, quiet, alone, to get out of the hustle-bustle and into the tempo of intentional prayer.

I think pledging to intentional prayer is a wonderful way to realign our values and concerns on a daily basis.  Intentional prayer recognizes that the day is God’s alone, and we ought to fit ourselves in it, not the other way around. Intentional prayer lays a foundation for us, centers us, teaches us to turn off the things, noise, and hustle of the world. Intentional prayer is as important to the any Christian’s day as corporate worship on Sunday is to the Christian’s week.

I would offer a great resource from Dr. John Piper on “7 tips to restart your prayer life”.  You can find it here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/seven-simple-tips-to-refresh-your-prayer-life

And feel free to join us each Sunday at 5 PM to pray for our church, community, and world!

A joy to serve as your pastor,

Darin