Florence Congregational Church
Thursday, February 20, 2020
A Place to Connect
From The Pastor   October Update

Greetings in Christ Jesus!   I would like to acknowledge my appreciation and the

joyful blessing of our prayer team warriors that meet each week to pray over the

congregation, individual members, community, other churches, and a host of others.

I believe “Prayer is Powerful” and offers us the opportunity to speak  to our God directly. 

Now that summer outings and vacations have slowed and we begin to our regular fall routines, I invite you to join in a church wide prayer vigil.  Pray over each other, the leadership and creative visioning for our church.  Pray over the boards and committees as they plan events and the support needed to bring them to fruition.  Pray over the youth and Sunday School as they learn and wrestle with who God is and where God fits into their lives. 

Prayer is always important.  As we begin re-envisioning our church’s destiny and purpose in light of our social changes, pray diligently that we discern God’s purpose for us as we journey together.  I know that prayer is not easy for everyone.  Sometimes it’s hard to find time to pray the ‘right’ way.  When your joyful, your heart so full it might explode, yet you don’t know how to express it.  When you’re devastated by loss or confusion, the words just won’t come.  This is true for many of us at different times in our journey, and for some prayer at anytime is difficult.

Joan Wester Anderson wrote a very helpful article, Discovering Simple Ways to Pray.  I share some of her enriching notes:

Relax…Jesus encouraged his followers to pray as little children do-simply with complete trust that God will hear and understand.  Stop thinking it must be just so.  It is not supposed to be an achievement.  Picture yourself walking with a loved one looking towards them trustingly, and chatting about the day’s events.  What would you say?

Give thanks…”I am grateful Lord, the sun is out and it is warm.  Thank you for the abundance of food at my table.”  A prayer can be as simple-and profound-as a heartfelt thank you.

Pray regularly…I’ll give you an example.  You have three children.  One calls on you quite regularly, sharing tidbits and observations of life.  The second phones dutifully once a month. The third?  The third only contacts you when their in trouble or need something.  You love them all, but which one do you feel the closest to?

Meet God in Everyday Experiences…What good can be found while waiting for someone to fix you broken down car?  Make it an opportunity to focus on God rather than the problem.  You have a friend scheduled for surgery.  Why not pray with him/her and with your family for that person.  Look for an opportunity to experience God in every dimension of your waking day through music, art, nature, and human relationships.  Life itself can be experienced as prayer.

Start a Dialogue Through Scripture…One-sided prayer is fine, but it helps to hear God’s response.  God speaks to us in many ways-through friends, our conscience and of course, Scripture.  Begin by dedicating 15 minutes sometime during the day to read Scripture out loud.  You may find a phrase that gives you a little ‘signal’ –perhaps a tingling or different sensation…this is prayer in one of the most loving forms, a true meeting of minds and hearts.

Have Faith in God’s Providence… Sometimes our prayers are answered promptly and as expected.  Other times we feel that God has ignored our plea because nothing happens or something way different than expected.  But, what if God’s “no” is a prelude to an unbelievable blessing in the future.  Read Isaiah 55: 8-9

Pray for Others… The Christian life is not to be lived privately.  As members of the Body Of Christ, we have much to give each other.  Take an occasional risk to pray with a friend.  Share a prayer of blessing with your children.  Pray for a coworker.  Pray over a person who you dislike.  See what God can do!

Pray in Bad Times Too… When you wake up grumpy, out of sorts, tired and want to yell at the world.  Instead of fussing at your spouse, tell God it’s a “bad hair day.”  God’s big enough to hear it.  And God is always waiting to hear our voice.

Speak to God often and then listen carefully for the response…


                                                                                                                         Blessings, Pastor Irv



Florence Congregational Church • 130 Pine Street, Florence, Massachusetts 01062 • 413.584.1325


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