The Word Has It
Ken Floyd, MARBC State Representative
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” –Psalm 119:28
August’s Word: “Answer”
The current summer season for the Floyds has involved traveling a few thousand miles to conferences, seminars, and church ministries on behalf of the MARBC fellowship. As I write this column, we are preparing for two major weeks of ministry traveling throughout the upper peninsula of Michigan. The purpose of the trip is to encourage pastoral couples and to minister to their churches. We also desire to learn of the opportunities and needs of this special group of God’s servants who are an important part of our church network.
In our very mobile ministry, we have gained a new appreciation for the latest technology (when it works!) It allows us to keep current and connected with our MARBC family even when we are out of our stationary office in Grand Rapids. Almost every day, Sharon and I go through a routine that, up to a few years ago, was not a part of our daily lives: we check our voicemail and our email. It is amazing how much of our daily ministry with people and churches involve these activities.
Certainly, there are times when voicemail and email can be a nuisance, especially when the caller is a telemarketer or an email belongs in the spam bin. Other times, these technological tools can be very helpful, especially in times of special need or emergency. Like it or not, we have all learned to live with voicemail and email as a necessary part of modern life.
We give thanks for these conveniences on the human level. However, could you imagine the Christian’s chagrin if God had voicemail? It was this question, posed in a Christian blog I recently read, that actually provoked this column. The blog contained a somewhat humorous and thought provoking illustration of what it might be like if, when seeking to pray, a Christian was rerouted to a voicemail recording. The illustration surmises, If God Had Voicemail.’
Imagine praying and hearing this: “Thank you for calling My Father’s House. Please select one of the following options: Press 1 for requests. Press 2 for thanksgiving. Press 3 for complaints. Press 4 for all other inquiries.”
Can you imagine your response, if, as you prayed you heard this new twist on a familiar recording? “Thank you for calling heaven. All the angels are busy helping other customers right now. Please stay on the line. Your call will be answered in the order it was received. You are currently 34 million-something in the queue.”
Or, imagine getting these options as you call on God in prayer:
“If you would like to speak to Gabriel, press 1.
For Michael, press 2.
For a directory of other angels, press 3.
If you’d like to hear King David sing a Psalm, press 4.
To find out if a loved one has been assigned to heaven, enter his or her social security number.
For reservations at My Father’s House, press the letters J-O-H-N and then 3-1-6.”
How sad it would be if you heard the message: “Our computers show that you have already called once today. Please hang up and try again tomorrow.’ Or, “This office is closed for the weekend. Please call again on Monday after 9:00 am.’
On the blog where I read this illustration, someone shared this response to the illustration: God doesn’t have voicemail, but He did leave us a long and wonderful text message!’ A clever and good reply!
The divine voicemail illustration serves to remind us of the special blessing prayer is for the Christian. Thanks be to God, that we cannot call upon Him too often nor will we ever receive a recording. The Prophet Isaiah’s comments bring great encouragement to God’s faithful followers: “Then you shall call and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here am I.'” (Isaiah 58:9)
Prayer is also significantly connected to our spiritual well being. Hebrews 4:14-16 shares, Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’
The illustration should also serve as a reminder of the Christian’s joy to heed the admonition to pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God desires that we pray at any time and always! This is clearly reinforced by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.’
As the days of summer wind to a close and the busier pace of autumn nears, why not schedule time for a personal season of prayer with God? During this season, reflect upon the Word of God and focus upon your current walk with God. Commit the remaining days of this year’s calendar to God for His use and His glory. While we are giving our attention to prayer in this column, let me encourage you to participate in the upcoming MARBC Day of Prayer that is scheduled for Sunday, September 30. Be sure that your church is planning special ways to emphasize prayer on that day. Make note of special prayer ideas that are listed inside this issue of the Baptist Testimony. Contact the MARBC office for special prayer materials (email Ken). In September, we will share special prayer ideas being planned in MARB churches and will post special prayer requests from the MARBC network on our website, www.marbc.net. If you would like to have prayer requests posted for the Day of Prayer, be sure to email them to the MARBC office for posting.
God commands us to pray and promises to answer prayer (Call to me and I will answer you,’ Jeremiah 33:3.) You have His Word on it! (KEF)
Day of “One Accord” Prayer
Sunday, September 30, 2007
“They raised their voice to God in one accord.” Acts 4:24
Purpose: a day for MARBC churches to devote their attention to prayer for our churches, pastors, camps, ministries, missionaries, and special
Ideas for Participation:
Preach and teach on the topic of prayer in worship services, Sunday School, ABFs, and small groups. I.e., a study of the Disciple’s Prayer in Matthew 5; prayers recorded in the Bible, the qualities of prayer, hindrances to prayer, etc.
Plan a 24-hour prayer marathon or other prayer event leading up to Sunday. I.e., Pastor Kevin Pierpont reports that Higgins Lake Baptist Church is planning a 12-hour season of prayer on Saturday, September 29, in anticipation of the Day of Prayer on September 30. Materials on planning a prayer marathon and other prayer events are available from the MARBC office.
Join with a sister church or churches in your area for a Sunday evening prayer service and/or concert of prayer.’ I.e., One MARBC regional fellowship is making plans for this type of service.
Take a moment during the morning worship service to pray for the churches, pastors, camps, missionaries, and ministries of the MARBC. Pray also for sister churches in your area. I.e., Every church in the MARBC fellowship is encouraged to pause at the 11:00 a.m. hour on September 30 to come before the Lord praying in one accord.’ While worship and service times vary in our churches, most of our churches are assembled in some ministry setting at the 11:00 a.m. hour. This would also be a good time for deacons and/or other church members to pray on behalf of their pastors in anticipation of Clergy Appreciation Month in October. If you cannot pray as a group at 11:00 a.m., pray at a time that would be most appropriate for your setting.
Use the special Day of Prayer to focus upon the ministries of the MARBC. I.e., Bulletin inserts, prayer cards and other literature are available by contacting the MARBC office. Some MARBC churches are receiving a special love offering on behalf of the MARBC. The MARBC ministry office and state representative are supported by the love gifts from churches in the fellowship.
Contact the MARBC office for additional information and/or materials regarding prayer initiatives.