Developing a Culture of Prayer

SSP Prayer Bulletin Reflection
January 18, 2015

Pray

 As we turn our calendars to a new year, we instinctively make plans to give attention to what matters. As Christians, it is my fervent hope that when we think about our priorities, prayer is right at the top of the list. If not, rearranging your priorities to reflect such might be a wise thing to do at this time of the year.

Developing a culture of prayer in a church takes time. The critical thing is to begin the process and take the steps necessary to build a prayer culture. In this respect, it is the goal of the Parish’s Prayer Committee to focus on building a community that prays and not just build a prayer meeting; to strategically develop prayer so that the congregation grows in prayer while also growing in relationship, in the Scriptures, and the other elements of community life. We want a congregation that is praying and growing together not just attending meetings as individual intercessors.

How and where do we start? I believe that the best way to do things is to lead by example. So, a prayer culture should begin with the leaders. The best way to build a culture of praying in the church is to get the leadership praying together. This foundation must be laid first if the congregation is going to catch the vision of prayer. They may begin a daily prayer meeting for the staff at the church. The senior leader in the church must lead this. That person cannot delegate his responsibility to lead prayer meetings. It must be held in a way that is very participatory, having the feel of praying together and not just one person praying. It should be the first thing on the daily schedule in the mornings since staff will be distracted with other pressing issues later in the day.

Next, teach a culture of prayer. Most people do not have a good theology of prayer and most often people feel they should pray, and have been told they should, but very few have a vision for prayer beyond obligation and personal needs. This year, the Prayer Committee have appointed a couple of Prayer Ambassadors who were given the task of serving as a liaison and promoter of the ministry between the congregation, the different fellowships, care groups, choirs and the Prayer Committee. They are tasked to give people understanding of why a prayer culture is important. They are to ensure that prayer is encouraged, engaged, and integrated into every ministry and department of the church. 

Once the leadership of the church and the congregation are growing in prayer, then establishing a House of Prayer should be next in our agenda. Engaging students and young adults, mothers, retired individuals, and others who do not work, to lead prayer meetings strategically added during the week. This would tremendously strengthen their lives as well as the parish.

In the end, our ultimate goal is to build a Community of Prayer. Much patience is needed with the process of growing a praying church and so we ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance. The first steps are for our leadership to commit to a daily life of praying together, then begin teaching a sound theology of prayer, and then begin very approachable prayer meetings for the congregation.

“The life of the church is the highest life, and its office is to pray. Its PRAYER life is the highest life, the most fragrant, and the most conspicuous. When God’s house on the earth is a house of prayer, then God’s house in heaven is busy and powerful in its plans and movements. ‘For mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’ (Isaiah 56:7b), says our God.         ~E.M. Bounds

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Precept Upon Precept: Book of Revelation – Part 2

Precept - Revelation Part 2Do you want to learn how to read and study the Bible?  Do you desire to study God’s Word in a more in-depth manner?  Join Precept Classes on Saturdays at SSP Faithfulness Building, from 2 to 5 PM.

This November 8, 2014, Sis. Susan Ngan will start a series on Revelation Part 2, which focuses on Chapters 4 to 22 of the book.  (Revelation Part 1 is about Revelation Chapters 1 to 3, and focuses on the messages to the 7 churches.)

You may still join Part 2 even if you missed Part 1!  Feel free to join and discover the joy of studying God’s Word through these classes.

PRECEPT UPON PRECEPT: REVELATION PART 2

Starts November 8, 2014

Saturdays, 2-5 PM

4th Floor, AV Room of Faithfulness Building

—————–

“Precept Upon Precept” are studies that lead one to a personal one-on-one encounter with the living God.  These studies are an in-depth resources that teach inductive method of study.

Precept Ministries seek to reach everybody, everywhere, anytime, any place, any language, any age with one message:  the Bible; and with one method: inductive study – to the glory of God!

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November 4, 2014 · 2:51 am

“Come, Let Us Sing!” – This November 23, 2014

2014 Anniversary Concert

Invite your family and friends to this annual SSP concert in celebration of its anniversary.  Free admission!

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November 2, 2014 · 9:09 am

New Audio File Uploaded: “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows” and the Two Incidents of the Feeding of the Multitudes – By Michael Card

Come Lift Up Your Sorrows by Michael Card

If you are wounded, if you are alone,
If you are angry, if your heart is cold as stone,
If you have fallen and if you are weak,
Come find the worth of God
That only the suffering seek.

(Chorus)
Come lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain;
Come make a sacrifice
Of all your shame;
There in your wilderness
He’s waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds,
For He’s wounded too.

He has not stuttered, and He has not lied
When He said, “Come unto me, you’re not disqualified”
When your heavy laden, you may want to depart,
But those who know sorrow are closest to His heart.

In this most Holy Place
He’s made a sacred space
For those who will enter in
And trust to cry out to Him;
You’ll find no curtain there,
No reason left for fear;
There’s perfect freedom here
To weep every unwept tear.

So lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain;
Come make a sacrifice
Of all your shame;
There in your wilderness
He’s waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds,
For He’s wounded too.

sspmanila audioDo you really believe that?  Can you possibly believe that that thing that hurts you the most may be the most precious thing that you have to offer God in worship?  That God uses sorrow – He uses suffering to save the world?  Could that possibly be true?

Could it be possibly true that the moment when Jesus was most being used by God, He was lamenting.  As He was on the cross, He was lamenting.  So we need to be encouraged – those of us who are sorrowful and confused, and even angry.

David says the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart, so if you’ve come this morning and that’s all you’ve got, you’ve come to the right place.  

I would like to look at two incidents in the Gospel of Matthew:  the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand.  Let us look at it briefly.

This is an excerpt from Bro. Michael Card’s sermon on September 28, 2014, about the two incidents of the feeding of the multitudes by Jesus (Matthew 14 and John 15 ).  Learn more about this by listening to the complete sermon here.

(Visit sspmanila.org to access Sunday worship sermons for the past 3 months and other audio resources.)

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New Audio File Uploaded: How to Have Great Faith

sspmanila audio“The excitement in my heart this morning is this:  by the grace of God, with the little knowledge that I may have right now, I may somehow encourage each one of us to learn how to have a “great faith” – great faith that will move mountains for the glory of God.  Great faith that will enable each one of us to serve Him mightily and with so much glee and joy in our hearts.  Great faith… Twice mentioned by Jesus Christ are two Gentiles, a man and a woman, who have such great faith.  

Likewise, by the grace of God Almighty, it is my prayer that each one of us in here will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to be enlightened and to understand His Word, and hopefully this will motivate and inspire us to be more excited in serving God… Hoping that such great faith may indeed become a reality for the glory of God Almighty.”  

This is an excerpt from Pastor Edwin Lim’s sermon on Matthew 15:21-28 about “How to Have a Great Faith” on October 5, 2014.  Listen to the complete sermon here.

(Visit sspmanila.org to access Sunday worship sermons for the past 3 months and other audio resources.)

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New Audio File Uploaded: Living Sacrifice (Matt. 21 & Rom. 12)

sspmanila audio

Today is special for the confirmation candidates as well as for all of us.  You may have been confirmed long, long time ago, but whenever there is a confirmation service, this serves as a good reminder for all of us:  the baptism vows we took during our baptism, as well the confirmation vows…  what we have done from that point.  And as we look back, and for those who are confirmed today, we move forward together.  There are some reminders for all of us.

The two passages for today’s readings are just appropriate.  (Matthew 16:21-27 and Romans 12:1-8)  Jesus took His disciples from Galilee all the way up north to Philippi Caesarea.  (Matthew 16:21-27)  If you travel by coach, that is one and half hour journey.  And if you walk by foot, it may take more than half a day.  And Jesus took the disciples all the way to the north to ask them, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”  

And the disciples offered some answers they knew.  They knew what the people are thinking about Jesus.  And then Jesus asked them,  “Who do you say that I am?’  And I think you are very familiar with the answer.  Simon Peter said,  “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”   

And Jesus told the disciples, and He is telling us all today, that He had to go to Jerusalem to die for all of us.  And Jesus challenged the disciples, and He is doing right now:  “Take up your cross and follow Me.”  As we move on as Christians, there are lots of lessons for us.  We have to keep learning and moving in serving Him and His people.  

And the epistle reading for today is Romans 12.  This is a familiar passage.  But as you come to verse 1 of chapter 12 – “I beseech you, therefore…”

Whenever you read therefore, in Paul’s epistles, it doesn’t come out of the blue.  You should go back and find it – the link, before the “therefore.”  Just like we approach any book of the Bible.  

This is an excerpt from Rev. Samuel Sia’s sermon on Romans 12:1-8 and Matthew 16:13-17 about “Living Sacrifice” on August 31, 2014.  Listen to the complete sermon in English or in Hokkien.

(Visit sspmanila.org to access Sunday worship sermons for the past 3 months and other audio resources.)

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New Audio File Uploaded: A Love That Won’t Let Go

sspmanila audioIt is agreed universally that Romans 8 is one of the greatest passage in the Scriptures.  Five times in this passage the apostle Paul asked questions to draw out the amazing privilege of belonging to Jesus Christ – such as the one in Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, then who can be against us?”  In verse 35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”  

The answers to these questions are so plain and wonderful for all those who are in Jesus Christ.  And the answer to all these questions is that no one, and nothing, can separate us from the love of Christ.  Surely this will uplift anyone in the most discouraging situation.  Or does it?  These maybe words that may encourage us in relatively comfortable situation.  But what if your situation doesn’t make you feel that you somehow could agree with the apostle Paul?

This is an excerpt from Rev. Anthony Hao’s sermon on “A Love That Won’t Let Go” on August 24, 2014.  Listen to the complete sermon here.

(Visit sspmanila.org to access Sunday worship sermons for the past 3 months and other audio resources.)

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Operation WorldView: Explore your destiny in God’s global story

“The Story above all stories is the story of His glory.  You are in the story.”

Explore your destiny in God’s global story through these 8 sessions of DVD-based mission curriculum in all SSP Fellowships starting this month of August.

[vimeo vimeo.com/102602486]

Here is the schedule for AUGUST:

fellowship schedule - operation worldview

(Yutiam Hall, Halls A and B are located at the H. J. Wei Building.  Glory Hall is at the Faithfulness Building.)

An Introduction (excerpt from the study guide)

Why am I here?  Is there a grand design, an overall Story to the universe? If so, does my life fit into that Story?

The goal of this study is to lead you toward the discovery – based primarily on studying the Bible – but also history, culture, geography, and current events – that there is a grand design, an over-arching Story!  Hopefully, you will further discover that this high drama involves us as individuals, families, and local churches in ways that are all at once delightful, thrilling, terrifying, stunning.

You will see:  There is one Story above all stories – and you have a destiny in that Story.  So dig in. Commit yourself to study and prayer, careful evaluation and action.

Our hope is that your own glory will be awakened – perhaps for the first time – as you gaze at the glory of God.

–  Werner Mischke

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Michael Card Live in Manila This September 2014

Mark your calendars: September 27, 28 and 29, 2014!

Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to the songs and teachings of Michael Card.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 (SATURDAY) at the Glory Hall
2 to 5 pm Biblical Imagination on the Gospel of John Part 1
7:30 to 9:30 pm Biblical Imagination on the Gospel of John Part 2
SEPTEMBER 28, 2014 (SUNDAY)
9 am Sunday Worship Service at the SSP Main Sanctuary
2 to 5 pm Teaching on Missions at the Glory Hall
7 pm Concert at the SSHS Auditorium
September 29, 2014 (MONDAY)  
2 to 5 pm Biblical Imagination on the Gospel of Matthew at the Glory Hall
 michael card schedule

Learn more about “Michael Card Live in Manila” through this video:

[vimeo vimeo.com/102603655]

About Michael Card (from www.michaelcard.com)

In a career that spans 30 years, Michael Card has recorded over 31 albums, authored or co-authored over 24 books, hosted a radio program, and written for a wide range of magazines. While he has penned such favorites as “El Shaddai”, “Love Crucified Arose”, and “Emmanuel,” He never imagined selling more than 4 million albums or writing over 19 #1 hits. The popularity of his work seemed a stark contrast to his goal in life, to simply and quietly teach the Bible.

Although music provided him the opportunity to share insight gained through extensive research, writing songs alone limited what he felt called to share. Card would frequently agonize over having to condense the vast depth and richness of scripture into a three-minute song. And so he fell, quite naturally, into the field of book writing where he has garnered numerous awards.

Never one to compartmentalize his spiritual life, Card’s quest for community slowly seeped into his professional life as he began to write articles and books on topics that captured his imagination through conversations with Bible teachers, friends and contemporaries in both Christian music and the academic community.

Brennen Manning, Dr. Calvin Seerveld, Dr. Larry Crabb, Kirk Whalum, Dr. George Guthrie, Don Wyrtzen, J.I. Packer, and the late Dr. William Lane, people known for their academic biblical contributions to Grammy-award winning musicians, Card is the first to note what an amazing community of friends and contemporaries he has had the opportunity to learn from and grow with both personally and professionally throughout his career.

“Thomas Merton said, ‘The least of learning is done in the classroom,’ and he is so right,” says Card. “The bulk of what I’ve learned whether academically, musically, or personally is through interacting with people, which is why I think community is so important to our growth as Christians.”

In everything he does, Card seeks to encourage his audience to join in his own journey to know and be known by God by asking questions and entering into meaningful discussion with one another. Card’s vision is to edify the body of Christ around the world by sharing experiences and resources in the context of community in order to help facilitate the growth of smaller and more intimate communities within his audience’s own churches and neighborhoods.

To that end, Card has branched out beyond the music which made his name known within the Christian community into the various mediums he uses today; another reason why Card sees the importance of continuing to teach at conference centers like Glen Eyrie, The Cove, Columbia Bible College, Maranatha Bible College, and even on a regular basis at his home church.

Whether it’s through his writings, concerts, or teaching, the core of what binds these seemingly diverse endeavors together is biblical community. It is at the heart of everything Michael Card does.

“The one thing we strive to achieve is to reach people where they are,” explains Card. “whether it’s my work or the work of someone else, there is a greater chanceof reaching more people, who in turn will reach out to others in their own community.”

Michael is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where he earned his bachelors and master degrees in biblical studies. Michael has also received honorary PhD’s in music and Christian education from Whitfield Seminary and Philadelphia Biblical University.

Michael lives in Franklin, Tennessee, where, with a group of close friends, he pursues racial reconciliation and neighborhood renewal. He and his wife, Susan, have four children.

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First Things First Retreat for Working People this August 24 & 25, 2014

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

Tuesday Bible Study Group (TBSG) and Zion Fellowship invite working people and their families to this retreat to be held on August 24 and 25.  Deadline for registration is on August 10.  

You may register through any TBSG or Zion Fellowship officers, or contact 09175214461.

 

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