This weekend in worship we are beginning a four-week preaching series entitled: “Everyone is Searching for Truth: What Christians Believe.” We will be using both Scripture and the Apostles’ Creed as a guide for our series.
We’ll begin with the first article of the creed: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.”
As we think about God the Creator, we are reminded of Genesis chapter one. We’ll be reading a few verses from Genesis one in worship. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God’s creation is beautiful and expansive. Yet, the truly amazing thing is that God creates this world and sticks with it. God, despite our sinfulness, comes close in Jesus Christ to save us. In other words, God wants a relationship with us.
So, let me ask you today, How is your relationship with God? Your daily relationship? One way to keep that relationship strong is through talking to God in prayer. When you stop and think about it, prayer is a marvelous gift. To be able to talk with God the Creator about absolutely anything and everything is a tremendous reality for you and me.
In my life, I often use an acronym to help me in my discipline of prayer. Many of you may use the same one.
ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
Each letter corresponds to a different type of prayer. In prayers of adoration, we acknowledge the breadth and depth of God’s mighty works. For me, adoration prayers are on my lips when I see and experience the beauty and majesty of God’s creation.
In prayers of confession, we bring our sins, failings, regrets, and missteps before God, knowing that God not only hears us, but forgives us and lifts the many burdens that we carry around. For me, this is a very freeing type of prayer, one that results in a refreshed and renewed spirit to move forward in faith as a child of God.
In prayers of thanksgiving, we do just that. We give thanks to God for the “too many to count” gifts that come from God’s gracious hand. I, like you, have a long list. I try in my life to notice the small blessings each day and to thank God for them. This morning on the way to the office, I said “thanks” for the absolutely beautiful morning. And I said thanks for the wind, reminding me that God’s Holy Spirit is active and alive all around us.
I’m thankful too, for you, and for this spirit-filled community of faith called Gloria Dei. We are blessed to be receiving 108 people into membership this week throughout our four weekly worship services.
Finally, in prayers of supplication, we lift up any needs that we have, but also the needs of others and the needs of our world. Maybe you have a friend or relative who is facing challenging times. Lift them to God in prayer today and regularly. In my life, I’m certainly not shy about requesting help and guidance from God. It is good to pray for our own needs. Yet I find, as I’m sure you do too, that praying for others and for the concerns of this world is a great way to not only make a difference for others, but to keep things in proper perspective. Life is not all about “me”. We are called to pray and live for the sake of others. Prayers of supplication help us balance loving others as we love ourselves.
Yes, God has claimed you and loves you fully. You have a relationship with the living God, creator of all that exists. I encourage you to pray always and often. Jesus teaches us to be persistent in prayer. Our faith is, after all, a relationship. And regular, honest communication is so important to the health of any relationship. As you bring your prayers to God, look for the ways in which God is speaking to you. Prayer is a two-way street. I hope that the acronym ACTS helps in your prayer life. It does in mine.
For worship this week, please read Genesis 1:1 – 2:4.