A Crash Course in Knowing Christ (Ephesians 1:15-23)

Ephesians

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I continued our new series walking through the New Testament book of Ephesians, entitled “Ephesians: A Crash Course in Basic Christianity.” This weekend, I continued with the second half of chapter 1, which offers us a “Crash Course in Knowing Christ.” This is really a prayer of Paul that unfolds for us how prayer in gratitude, intercession, and worship helps us know Christ more fully in our lives.

You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities for involvement.

Read More »

A Prayer for Ascension Day

The Ascension of Christ - Giotto.jpg
Giotto, The Ascension of Christ, fresco; 1305.

Almighty God and Father,
thank You for Your everlasting love revealed in Jesus Christ,
who did not consider equality with You
something to be used to His own advantage,
but emptied Himself and took on the nature
of a servant and became human
for us and for our salvation.

Thank You that in Your infinite wisdom
this divine descent of the only begotten Son from eternity
made the way of the Cross
truly to become the pathway to abundant life.
Thank You that through His death and resurrection
the gateway to eternal life
not only brings us into Your household as children
but also seats us in the heavenly places
where He now lives and reigns with You eternally.

As we enter into true life through Him,
and we enter into Your forever family through Him,
so, too, do we find ourselves held in prayer through Him,
as He eternally intercedes for us at Your right hand,
Jesus the Messiah, ascended to glory,
the Name above all names, and our High Priest forever.

For all these blessings
beyond anything we could ask or imagine,
we thank You.
May our lives – in thought, word, and deed –
exist as living sacrifices of worship to You,
who reign with Your only Son, Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forevermore.
Amen.

Praying Deeper with 24-7 Prayer

Last week at Eastbrook Church, we hosted a 24-7 Prayer Room on our campus. This is not an original idea to us, but something many of us have experienced in other settings, such as the 24-7 Prayer Movement or the International House of Prayer.  When I was the Pastor of Collegiate Ministries with Elmbrook Church, running The Ave, a multi-campus ministry to college students in urban Milwaukee, one of our interns, Samantha, spurred us to do something similar downtown in the Big Red Church.  It was a really stretching experience for the students and for me.

As we entered into the summer of prayer here at Eastbrook this year, I wanted to do something like this with our church. Similarly to what we did with college ministry, the team working with our 24-7 Prayer room structured it around the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) as a means to organizing the room into stations at which people could pray individually or together. Each of the stations had active and reflective elements to it, allowing people of all ages to engaged physically in responding to God in some way.

intro

The theme for July in the summer of prayer was “Praying with Others.” While I often saw clusters of people and small groups praying together in the prayer room, the prayer room could also be utilized as an individual experience of prayer. As the week continued, however, the sense of being in this with others became more and more clear as people added their own words of praise, confession, gratitude, and need to the interactive elements. I couldn’t help but think of the words in Hebrews 12:1-2:

Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus

You can see both the guiding statements for each of the four stations, as well as the interactive elements below.

24-7 Prayer at Eastbrook

Summer-of-Prayer-Ads_App-Wide-2.pngThis Sunday, July 15, at 6 AM we begin a week of 24-7 Prayer here at Eastbrook. This is part of our Summer of Prayer in July where we are focusing on learning how to pray together with others. Holy Grounds Coffeehouse will be open for prayer with others during this entire week for prayer.

Participants can participate with interactive prayer stations (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) that will encourage personal prayer, as well as create space for groups (families, life groups, etc.) to pray together. Plan to spend about an hour in the various stations.

Holy Trinity Brompton shares this in their booklet History Belongs to the Intercessors:

Some of the most remarkable moments in church history have been marked by 24-7 prayer:

  • When the Holy Spirit visited a 24-7 Prayer Room in an upper room in Jerusalem, the church was born!
  • Monastic communities have practiced the laus perennis – perpetual prayer, for centuries
  • During the eighteenth century, Moravians in the German village of Herrnhut prayed continually for more than 100 years. From that remarkable prayer meeting they sent out missionaries all over the world, even converting John Wesley
  • The Pentecostal movement began in 1906 when the Holy Spirit was poured out on a multiracial 24-7 Prayer Room in Azusa Street, Los Angeles

If you want to dig more deeply into how to pray, you may enjoy accessing the resources pulled together from the 24-7 Prayer movement, including the Prayer Course.

 

John Chrysostom on Prayer’s Power

John ChrysostomThe potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it had bridled the rage of lions, hushed the anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings.

In my message this past weekend, “Prayer for Deliverance” from the life of Hezekiah, I shared a quotation on the power of prayer from John Chrysostom (349-407). I have not been able to track down the original source of this quotation, which appears in multiple books, including E. M. Bounds’ Purpose in Prayer, Leonard Ravenhill’s Why Revival Tarries, and R. Kent Hughes’ James: Faith That Works.

 

 

Prayer Course and prayer resources

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 10.03.07 AM.pngAs we prepare for a week of 24/7 Prayer at Eastbrook Church (July 15-21) as part of our summer of prayer, I want to encourage you to explore the great resources available at the 24-7 Prayer movement’s web-site.

Specifically, I’d like to encourage you to access the online Prayer Course they have put together.  Journey through the Lord’s Prayer with six short videos and a handy ‘cheat sheet’ for each session, all designed to fuel discussion and deepen your prayer life and the prayer life of the church. The sessions are:

  • Adoration (“Our Father in heaven”)
  • Petition (“Give us this day”)
  • Intercession (“Your kingdom come”)
  • Perseverance (“Your will be done”)
  • Listening (“Our daily bread”)
  • Warfare (“Deliver us from evil”)

Resources for Prayer

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 10.20.07 AM.pngWhen I was Pastor of Collegiate Ministries at Elmbrook Church, our ministry, The Ave, hosted a 24/7 week of prayer in partnership with other college ministries around the city of Milwaukee. We drew a lot of our ideas from a group based in the UK, known as 24-7 Prayer, founded by Pete Greig. They have an excellent resource page that a friend, Caitlin Ewing, shared with me and my wife, Kelly, just this past weekend (thanks, Caitlin!).

Weave prayer into the daily rhythm of your life. Whether you find prayer hard, boring or if you’re simply looking for new ideas –  this section will help you pray, every day:

SIMPLE PRAYER IDEAS – Get started with these 6 ways to pray

TAKE TIME – Go deeper in your prayer life and spend a little longer in God’s presence.

PRAYING THE LORD’S PRAYER, DAILY   Start a new rhythm of prayer using the Lord’s prayer

ANCIENT PRAYERS – Different prayer ideas from centuries past

PRAYING THE BIBLE – Simple ideas to help you pray using the Bible

BIBLE STUDIES ON PRAYER – Find out what Jesus and the early Church taught about prayer

FASTING – Find our how fasting can encourage powerful prayer

HOW TO PRAY USING A JOURNAL – How writing your prayers can help you to develop a rhythm of prayer

LEARN TO LISTEN – Helpful tips on listening to God

WHAT’S YOUR PRAYER PERSONALITY? – How each of us can use our different personalities to pray

PRAY FOR THE WORLD – How to engage with the world around you

BLESSING MUSLIMS IN PRAYER  – be equipped to pray and bless Muslims with resources from our friends at Mahabba and Frontiers.