Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4: 6 ESV
Welcome to our November 2013 First Friday Call to Prayer. Our aim is to provide you with teaching that we trust will enhance your prayer experience and will be an encouragement to you. We will also provide you with praise items and prayer requests coming from within ANiC and the Anglican Communion worldwide.
We encourage you to set aside the first Friday, November 1st, as a day of prayer and fasting for the Church in these critical days, ideally gathering with other believers in your parish or region for corporate prayer at some point in the day
“Keep praying, but be thankful that God’s answers are wiser than your prayers!”
William Culbertson (Reformed Episcopal bishop and long-time president of Moody Bible Institute]
If It Be Your Will
by R.C. Sproule
From time to time, we come across an article on prayer that is helpful and appropriate for our First Friday meditation. The following piece, written by Dr. R.C. Sproul, founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, is such an article. Ligonier Ministries has as its mission focus “bridging the gap between Sunday school and seminary”, and is founded on reform theology. The article is posted online and is published here courtesy of Ligonier Ministries: www.ligonier.org/blog/if-it-be-your-will/
Garth V. Hunt+
When we come before God, we must remember two simple facts—who He is and who we are. We must remember that we’re talking to the King, the Sovereign One, the Creator, but we are only creatures. If we will keep those facts in mind, we will pray politely. We will say, “By Your leave,” “As You wish,” “If You please,” and so on. That’s the way we go before God. To say that it is a manifestation of unbelief or a weakness of faith to say to God “if it be Your will” is to slander the very Lord of the Lord’s Prayer.
It was Jesus, after all, who, in His moment of greatest passion, prayed regarding the will of God. In his Gospel, Luke tells us that immediately following the Last Supper:
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:39–44)
It is important to see what Jesus prays here. He says, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” Jesus was not saying, “I don’t want to be obedient” or “I refuse to submit.” Jesus was saying: “Father, if there’s any other way, all things being equal, I would rather not have to do it this way. What You have set before Me is more ghastly than I can contemplate. I’m entering into My grand passion and I’m terrified, but if this is what You want, this is what I’ll do. Not My will, but Your will, be done, because My will is to do Your will.”
I also want you to notice what happened after Jesus prayed. Luke tells us that an angel came to Him and strengthened Him. The angel was the messenger of God. He came from heaven with the Father’s answer to Jesus’ prayer. That answer was this: “You must drink the cup.”
This is what it means to pray that the will of God would be done. It is the highest expression of faith to submit to the sovereignty of God. The real prayer of faith is the prayer that trusts God no matter whether the answer is yes or no. It takes no faith to “claim,” like a robber, something that is not ours to claim. We are to come to God and tell Him what we want, but we must trust Him to give the answer that is best for us. That is what Jesus did.
Because Luke tells us that the Father sent an angel to strengthen His Son, I would expect Jesus’ agony of soul to have been alleviated. It appears, however, that with the coming of the strength from the angel came an increase in the agony of Christ, an increase so profound that He began to sweat so profusely that it was “like great drops of blood.” In a sermon on Luke 22:44, Jonathan Edwards said that this increase in Jesus’ agony was due to a full realization of the will of God for Him in His passion. He had come to the garden with the fear that He would have to drink the cup. Once He knew it was indeed God’s will that He drink it, He had a new fear—that He would not be able to do it. In other words, Jesus now was in agony that He not come short of complete and perfect obedience to the will of God.
But He did it. He drank the cup to the last drop. And in that moment, Jesus didn’t give us words to show us how to pray; He gave us His life as an example of praying that the will of God would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
(An excerpt from The Prayer of the Lord by R.C. Sproul.)
Praise God …
For the incredible privilege that we can bring any person, situation or difficulty to Almighty God who is faithful to hear our prayers and who “causes all things to work together for our good”. (Rom 8:28)
That we can depend fully and unreservedly on our loving Father for every aspect of our lives.
For the many ANiC “projects” and church plants – the small, but growing congregations of faithful Anglicans that He is adding to our number.
For faithful Anglican primates, bishops, clergy and laity – throughout the Communion – who are standing for truth even when their stand for Christ and His Word makes them targets of attack.
Confess if needed…
Any presumption in prayer where our attitude may have reflected a lack of faith in God’s intrinsic goodness or His ultimate sovereignty.
For the GAFCon Primates and those who attended the GAFCon gathering in Nairobi. May God use this movement to bring Him glory, revive the Anglican Communion, and lead many to our Saviour.
For a new visitation of the Holy Spirit upon our bishops and clergy, our parishes and our diocese. Pray that the fresh wind of the Spirit will bring renewal, healing and empowerment.
For Bishops Donald Harvey, Charlie Masters, Stephen Leung, Trevor Walters, Ronald Ferris and Malcolm Harding (retired) – and their families. Pray for spiritual and physical protection and renewal, for wisdom, and for a daily closer walk with God.
For our Archdeacons: the Venerables Ron Corcoran (Vancouver Island), Dan Gifford (BC), Paul Charbonneau (Ontario), Tim Parent (Ottawa Valley), Paul Crossland (Prairies), Michael McKinnon (New England, USA), and Darrell Critch (Atlantic Region & Quebec) – and our Dean of Multicultural Ministries, the Very Rev Dr Archie Pell..
For all of our ANiC clergy and families, especially those experiencing spiritual and physical attack.
For the ANiC congregations that have lost their places of worship and are meeting in temporary facilities. May God comfort and pour out His blessing on them. May they be filled with the joy of the Lord as they seek His guidance for more permanent worship facilities.
That God would continue His work in and through the Anglican Church in North America
For Archbishop Bob Duncan (and wife, Nara), especially for restored health and for wisdom as he seeks to give godly leadership through any growing pains our province may encounter.
GAFCon Primates and Fellowship of Confessing Anglican (FCA) leaders – Pray for the Lord’s courage and wisdom as they seek to guide the orthodox reformation and realignment that is taking place in the Anglican Communion.
Southern Cone – Pray for Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala in his primatial duties and for this province which includes much of South America.
For the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Pray that the Lord will grace him with wisdom, courage and the faithfulness to follow the teachings of Scripture in his decision-making.
For the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC) as it raising funds for a training and education centre in the Diocese of Recife (Brazil).
For the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 10 that those of us who live in relative freedom and safety from persecution and violence would have a deeper empathy and commitment to prayer for our brothers and sisters who face danger daily.
For all the Christians in the Middle East who are facing increasing pressure and persecution as many of their countries embrace a more aggressive and extreme form of Islam.
For those who serve us and those who are in authority over us – our police forces, our armed forces, our emergency responders, our municipal elected officials, our provincial MLAs and premiers, and our federal MPs and Prime Minister..
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