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What should we be praying?

16 October, 2014 Tim Hanson

What should we be praying?

Over a warm and lazy summer in Winsford, we looked at people in the Bible who met Jesus; people such as Nicodemus and Zaccheus.
 
The big point that we learnt was that being Christian is about knowing Jesus – and that continuing as a Christian is about knowing Jesus better.
 

  • We know Him better as we teach the Bible to each other, so it’s important that we regularly meet together.
  • We know Him better when we pray for one another. It’s good to pray for each other’s health and many other things; but our biggest prayer for people in our church should be that they will know Jesus better.

 
Therefore, all that we do in our local churches should be about knowing Jesus and making Him known.
 
In Winsford, we are finding that our community leaders and Town Council are increasingly keen for the church to partner in planning local festivals and other events. We thank God for the opportunity to be at the centre of our community – but we must be careful! Our priority is not to make people feel better about the place where they live. Our priority is to make relationships with people so that we can speak about Jesus.  
 
What is the ultimate point of our work with people who are struggling with debt; with those who need food; or with families at the pre-school and the mums’ and toddlers’ group? Ultimately, it is so that we might pray for them and take opportunities to talk to them about Jesus.
 
And what of our Sunday morning meetings, our home groups, and our work with children and young people? It is so that we can gather around God’s Word, so that we might know Jesus better.
 
You get the idea!

Our prayer is that this wouldn’t be some kind of vague purpose – but that helping people to know Jesus would be what drives us, motivates us and what influences all that we do together and in our communities.
 
We are finding it useful to consider these two questions :
 

  • What will each of us do to know Jesus better?
  • How will I help others to know Jesus better?

 
This, then, can lead on to other questions. Is it time to be more active in praying that prayer for one another? Is it time to join a home group for the first time? Is it time to start taking notes in sermons, so that I can concentrate more and remember more? Is it time to start reading the Bible more on my own and with my family?
 
We have recently learnt this memory verse at the beginning of a series on Philippians:
 
“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Philippians 3:8
 
If I believe what Paul says in that verse, then I will answer those questions with real seriousness and intent.

Tim Hanson Tim is vicar of Christ Church Wharton Winsford, part of the North West Gospel Partnership

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