A Prayer for Today
“I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart. I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you.” — Ezekiel 36:26-27, TEV
Lord our God,
You are the source of all life:
Your Spirit moved on the waters of chaos
Bringing order and harmony and life.
You breathed into humanity the breath of life.
May our lives be touched and awakened,
for you send your Spirit to blow through heaven and earth
and you stir everything to life.
May we long for your Spirit’s prompting
May we long for renewal and refreshing
for the sake of your promise
that we might do your will.
Grant that we become truly new creations in Christ Jesus
who cannot be overpowered by the evil of the world,
who can never be overcome by sin.
May we have new resolve to seek the highest good on earth,
that good which leads into Heaven.
Hear the prayers of all people far and near
who in these days are sighing in their hearts for the Savior.
We pray for them all as we pray for ourselves,
and we know you will hear our prayer.
You will send power
to lift up the hearts and souls of many people
so that there may be a great throng of your joyful people on earth.
In spite of all the misfortune, adversity, and danger in the world,
there will be a people rejoicing from one end of the earth to the other,
a people trusting in you
and sure of victory
through the great grace you give
in answer to our prayers. Amen.
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John Wesley and Spiritual Gifts
What would have been John Wesley’s attitude toward the modern doctrine and practice of Speaking in Tongues? Pentecostal churches teach that this is a necessary initial sign of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (a empowerment experience subsequent to Christian conversion). Other churches teach that spiritual gifts and miracles were signs that ceased after the age of the apostles. Where would Wesley have stood on these issues?
The evangelistic ministry and teaching John Wesley provided the impetus for the development of the Methodist & Holiness movements. The holiness movement, in turn, provided the seedbed for the emergence of early Pentecostalism. And, the original Azusa Street Pentecostalism thus provided the impetus for the development of the modern Pentecostal & Charismatic movements — which have (somewhat ironically) often lost or even explicitly denied the Holiness / Sanctification themes in Wesley’s teachings.
That is a rather complicated schema. Is there any evidence of this later unfolding that is already present in Wesley teachings?
Wesley distinguished between “extraordinary gifts” and “ordinary” graces of the Spirit. Speaking in Tongues would fall into the category of “extraordinary gifts.” Thus, he did not see the gift of Tongues as part of the abiding significance of the Pentecost event. (more…)
But, What About the Holy Spirit? – Colossians 1:9-12
As is generally the case with Paul’s letters, he begins by letting the church know he is praying for them. He really believed in the vital importance of prayer.
Prayer is at the foundation of all church renewal. We are regularly encouraged to pray. “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18 NRSV). We are given the examples of Jesus and Paul, who made prayer and intercession priorities in their lives and ministries. Before we need new ideas and quick fix solutions, we need prayer.
Prayer is at the heart of Christian ministry and at the heart of the life of the Church. This part of the letter is very important, and it’s going to take me a while to fully discuss this.
I need to begin by pointing out something about this prayer that seems odd at first. So, first some brief introductory remarks, and then some personal reflections. (more…)