we pile up the stones of remembrance
before You as our altar of worship
we grab ahold of the miracles You have done
we place our hands on them
and remember all Your wondrous grace
in our lives
thank You for the weight of Your goodness
which is the foundation of our lives
thank You for the texture of Your love
which gives artistry and rhythm to our lives
we step back and behold the wonders:
stone upon stone,
grace upon grace
the pile stands higher
than we could grasp
or even than we remembered
we give You thanks, Lord,
for all You have done
and for who You are
we will remember
Your glorious deeds
[This is part of a series of prayers for Sunday worship preparation that begins here.]
we are here
thunders across the oceans
and shatters the trees,
which brings life
and can snuff it out
we are here
present and waiting
attending like servants
to a master
please, Lord, speak to us
in Your ways
and for Your glory
that we might be
more fully Yours
Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Praying into the Center,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the first part of our series, “Jesus at the Center,” from the book of Colossians. This week we looked at Colossians 1:1-14.
- How would you define or describe what prayer is? Why is it important in our life with God?
- This weekend we begin a new series, “Jesus at the Center,” from one of Paul’s letters, “Colossians,” written to an early church in Asia Minor. This week we will study the first portion of the letter, Colossians 1:1-14. Whether you are on your own or with a small group, begin your study in prayer, asking God to speak to you through His word.
- The epistles – or letters – were written to early believers and usually read aloud all at once as part of the worship gathering. Although we are studying Colossians 1:1-14 this week, a good way to begin our journey into Colossians is to read the entire letter aloud.
- Background: It is important to know that Paul has never directly met these believers in Colossae (see 2:1), but has influenced them through the ministry of Epaphras (1:7-8; 4:12-13), as well as perhaps through his two-year ministry in Ephesus that touched large parts of Asia (see Acts 19:10).
- The letter begins in 1:1-2 with Paul transforming a fairly conventional greeting into a meaningful reflection of basic truths about our faith. What do you notice about Paul and Timothy’s identity, the believers’ identity, and God’s work in these brief verses?
- Paul begins a two-part prayer in verse 3, the first part (1:3-8) of which conveys thanksgiving to God. Why is Paul thankful for hearing about the church in Colossae?
- With verse 6, Paul reflects on the work of God around the world? Why is he thankful?
- How have you heard of God’s work around the world? What reports of God’s work around the world are you thankful for today?
- The second part of Paul’s prayer (1:9-14) turns toward intercession – or requests – of God for the believers. Paul continues a long sentence here that adds request upon request. Take some time to list out the requests that Paul makes of God here.
- Why do you think that Paul makes these sorts of requests?
- The prayer ends with a reflection in verses 13-14 on the reason for the joy we have from God (see 1:12). How would you summarize the reason for our joy?
- Let’s end the study today with prayer. If you are on your own, you may want to write out your own prayer of thanksgiving and intercession to God for yourself and for others. If you are with your small group, you may want to take time together in thanks and request of God for His work in you. Prayer is where the work starts, continues, and ends, so let’s take time for it as part of this study.
This past weekend at Eastbrook we began a new series, “Jesus at the Center,” where we will journey through Paul’s letter to the Colossians. This first message introduced the series, and then focused on Paul’s introductory prayer in Colossians 1:3-14.
You can watch the message here, following along with the outline below. You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
Starting with Colossians (1:1-2)
Praying from the Wells of Gratitude (Colossians 1:3-8)
Praying from the Freight Train of Need (Colossians 1:9-14)
Pray that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40)
Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:46b)
unseeing and tired
eyes sagging, bodies sore, sleep surges up,
engulfs vigilance at the vital hour.
Jesus’ question, ‘Why are you sleeping?’,
sounds strange to sleepwalkers,
whose ears fail to hear the rhythmic feet
marching to the Mount of Olives
with malicious intent.
they have no answer for such questions.
it is the silence of sleepyheads
who do not think straight,
lost in limbo between dreamworlds
and real worlds.
Lord, touch us who do not see or hear,
who fail to understand temptation
in the grey light of slumberland.
Lord, awaken us from sleep
that we may rise and pray
in the dark of this new day.
[This is the first in a group of six original poems composed for Holy Week. Read the next poem, “The Glory,” here.]