Prayer Bulletin – June 16 – 22, 2019

If you have prayer concerns that you wish to have considered, please send them to Rev. Calvin Brown <cbbrown@bell.net>.

A word of encouragement to those tired out:
“I will keep the ground that God has given me and perhaps in his grace He will ignite me again. But ignite me or not, in his grace and in his power, I will hold the ground.” – John Knox

Dear Psalty Supporters,
Karl Barth said, “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” We need an uprising to see the church renewed. It will be costly for those willing to bear the cross, but the One who sees all will not let the effort go unrewarded. In God’s call to arms, we must also remember that we do not fight with the weapons of the world but as Paul reminds us, with “the armour of light”. We must also remember that the prize that we seek is not control of institutions but the “prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Pray that we will not get distracted from the goal nor detached from our captain. Let us not surrender the power of prayer but be faithful daily to kneel with Jesus who intercedes for us at the throne of grace.

Resources: Ephesians 6:16-20

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Prayer Discipline This Week: Begin and end each prayer time by praying, Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Prayer Focus This Week

  • Pray for the PSALT leadership team to be wise and full of faith as they lead us forward in speaking of the remits coming to the presbyteries regarding human sexuality and our ministry with LGBTQI folk.
  • Ask God to arm us with His love in order to be a powerful witness to His reality.
  • Pray that Presbyterians may get our act together to be an effective witness to the world, showing forth the face of Jesus and living now in the grace of His kingdom.

Prayer Bulletin – June 9 – 15, 2019

Dear Psalty Supporters,
The church at the recent Assembly revised the Book of Forms to remove the discipline of excommunication, which had been the last resort at attempting to awaken members guilty of the worst obstinacy. Paul gives us an example in Scripture of how it was to be used on a man involved in incest with his mother, but we will have now to find our own way to deal with such things or just ignore it, claiming that we can’t put him out of the church even temporarily until he repents. This is indeed in accord with the spirit of the age when everyone decides in his own mind what is an acceptable discipline.

Perhaps it is simply that act of picking one Scripture over another so that the admonition not to judge is taken to mean that we don’t judge in any sense any act. (Of course, in reality, no one ever keeps to this, since we all reach a breaking point where we say that we can’t stand by any more – we must stop this abominable action.) In some way, I can’t help but think that some of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into recently is because we have slackened on exercising godly discipline whose purpose is not to punish so much as it is to help the offender to come to repentance and full restoration in the body of Christ. No wonder the reformers saw church discipline as necessary as a true mark of the church. Discipline that is not godly, of course, leads to confusion about what is pleasing to God, and likewise, ungodly discipline is an abomination of the mercy and justice of God. As a result, discipline is often no longer a matter of affirming God’s standards for the church but a way of the church attacking others with whom they don’t agree.

John Calvin affirms the supremacy of the Word: Institutes 4. 8.9.

Here, then, is the sovereign power with which the pastors of the church …ought to be endowed. That is that they may dare boldly to do all things by God’s Word; may compel all worldly power, glory, wisdom, and exaltation to yield to and obey his majesty; supported by his power, may command all from the highest even to the last; may build up Christ’s household and cast down Satan’s; may feed the sheep and drive away the wolves; may instruct and exhort the teachable; may accuse, rebuke, and subdue the rebellious and stubborn, may bind and loose; finally, if need be, may launch thunderbolts and lightnings, but do all things in God’s Word.

Resources: Matthew 7:1-20

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Prayer Discipline This Week

Begin and end each prayer time by praying, “Lord God of truth and justice, mercy and kindness, enable us, we pray, to have the humility to submit to Your wisdom that brings life and joy. Enable us to forgo attempts to judge the value of Your Word for our day and to realize instead that Your Word will judge us. Lord hear my confession…”.

Prayer Focus This Week

  • Pray for the PSALT leadership team to increase in prayer so that God’s will may be done in and through them.
  • Ask God to wrap His loving and comforting arms around those who were wounded by unkind words by others at the recent General Assembly when emotions ran high.
  • Give heartfelt thanks that God’s presence was felt to be at work at the Assembly and pray that His continued presence may lead us to the next step.
  • Pray for those preparing remits to be sent down to presbyteries, and pray for God to give presbyters wisdom and courage to be discerning and faithful in dealing with them.
  • Pray that Presbyterians may learn to live in restorative justice that brings sinners to the fullness of the kingdom of God.

Prayer Bulletin – June 2 – 8, 2019

Dear Psalty Supporters,
There have always been those who centre life on themselves rather than on pleasing God. The resource Scripture this week reminds us to be cautious of our attitude when we pray. Hypocrites focus on themselves and getting what they want, but the faithful are confident of the character of God and know that He is generous and wise in all His answers to our prayers. God is good – is the bottom line! We are not afraid to ask for what might please us but we are given wisdom to pray – even in risky times – “Your will, not mine, be done.”

John Calvin everywhere stresses that God’s Fatherhood is not to be understood by analogy from human fatherhood, but that human fatherhood is only understandable by analogy from divine Fatherhood.

Resources: Matthew 6:5-8

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (NIV)

Prayer Discipline This Week: Begin and end each prayer time by repeating the Lord’s Prayer slowly. Think of what each petition means and then see if the focus of your prayer changes afterwards as you pray the Lord’s Prayer the second time after your prayer of intercession.

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Prayer Focus This Week:

  • Pray for the PSALT meeting planned for Sunday evening before Assembly.
  • Pray that the General Assembly meeting in Committee of the Whole to discuss the Report of the Special Committee of Former Moderators and its recommendations will be inspired by God and bring forth a God-led recommendation.
  • Pray that Presbyterians may become more and more a people unified to bring the gospel in power to Canada and the world.
  • Thank God that Grant Gunnick will be a commissioner and able to speak truth. May God grant him boldness and wisdom along with the other commissioners.