Pastoral Post – Never Stop Praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NLT)

Our church emphasis during Lent has been prayer. We have been encouraged to pray for one another, for our
community, nation and world. We have prayed that Jesus’ presence be known in our midst and that we are drawn into
a deeper relationship with Him.

My messages took us to pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. We were challenged to pray for our
church requests at noon each day. T he Presence Group began an online prayer and study option. Kristin Paluszka led
us through Maundy Thursday prayer activities.

Soren Kierkegaard is attributed as saying, “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the
nature of the one who prays.”

Can we influence God? Genesis 6:6 states that because of human behavior, God regretted creating humans.
Abraham negotiated with God (Genesis 18:23-33) and God agreed. Luke 18:1-8 seems to imply that we can influence
God. I don’t think that influencing God should be our goal. The emphasis is rather on our relationship with and faith
in God. Prayer (communication with God) implies a relationship. God loves us, we respond to God with love, God
loves us back. And the cycle continues.

I’m not sure we have had much influence on God, but I trust that in some small way, we are not the same people
we were before Lent. Our prayer emphasis has focused on strengthening our relationship with God. Inwardly, our
faith and trust in God should be reinforced through constant contact. Similarly, our behavior should be an outward
expression of our connection with God.

It’s not adequate to say that we prayed during Lent and now it’s over. Hopefully, we have created or reinforced a
habit of prayer.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s
will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Grace and Peace,
-Pastor Steve

PRAYER QUOTE AND SCRIPTURE submitted since our last publication:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you
need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this you will experience God’s
peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace
will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (from the New Living Translation)