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    Mar 18, 2020

    God's Kindness, Our Repentance

    Passage: Romans 2:4

    Preacher: John Repsold

    Category: Prayer

    Keywords: prayer, discipline, mercy, judgment, humility, repentance, god's kindness

    Summary:

    This brief devotional was given during our midweek prayer service during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Detail:

    Prayer Gathering

    Mosaic Fellowship, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    [The video of this event can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/MosaicFellowshipSpokane/videos/1081102545590145/]

    Thank you for joining the handful of us here tonight. 

    Most of the time we’ll be praying. 

    I want to set the stage for where I think God would have us go tonight in our prayers. 

    2 themes:

    1. Gratitude for the kindness of God
    2. Humble repentance from our sins—individual sins, church sins, regional sins, national sins.

    If you are not used to an hour of prayer, fear not.  If God meets with us, an hour won’t be enough. 

    Suggestions for those joining us at home: 

    • If possible, find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
    • Pull out your journal or have a piece of paper at hand. God may speak to you about something as someone is praying that you want to give more attention to later or pray more about.
    • Have a Bible
    • Try to let the Holy Spirit guide us all as we pray. Follow where the person praying out loud is going.  Pause and let the Spirit speak to you about what they are speaking about. 
    • Don’t be afraid of some silences. God speaks in silence.  Like someone you love to be with, we don’t always have to be chattering.  Just being quiet in God’s presence can open us to His voice. 
    • Join us for whatever part of this hour you can. Better to spend some time in prayer than none.

    Biblical foundation for this evening:

    • Romans 2:4-- Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance 

    and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

    The first portion of prayer tonight is going to focus on God’s kindness to us.  Even today, we’ve all experienced a myriad of God’s kindnesses.  Even if we were sick in a hospital tonight, God’s kindness would still be abundant.  So we’re going to focus on different evidences of God’s kindness to us in the first portion of our prayers. 

                I’d like to suggest that we think about…thank God for His kindness…by focusing on different arenas of God’s kindness.  Let me suggest some to get our minds and hearts engaged and then you follow the leading of the Spirit. 

                NOTE:  It may take great discipline for some of us to stay on task with gratitude.  I find I so easily slip into ASKING for things.  But let’s try to limit our conversation with God in this first part to THANKING Him for different aspects of His great kindness to us. 

                Spend a few minutes working with one area of God’s kindness until someone prays introducing a new arena of God’s kindness. 

                WHY do this?  God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.  Let’s expect God to speak to us about sins we need to forsake even while we may be focusing on His kindness.  Write down any sin God brings to mind even while we’re thanking him for His kindness.  That is probably something He wants us to pray about later. 

    There is another well-known passage of scripture I want to link to this evening of prayer.  It was part of God’s response to King Solomon when he dedicated that first Temple in Jerusalem to God.  As you know, we are not the people of Israel.  So the promises God makes in the passage don’t have the same application to us as they did to Israel. 

    But they do have some powerful application to us, nonetheless. Without stretching the parallel too far, God is talking about what He will do for His people when they come to that Temple and engage in something very similar to what we are doing tonight: PRAY. 

    And in the church age, where just a handful of God’s children gather to pray, God is there.  He is listening…and speaking.  He is attentive to our prayers.  And he is wanting to relate to us without a bunch of junk messing up that relationship. 

    Here is what God promised to Solomon and what I still think He wants to do for us in the church age.

    2 Chronicles 7:13-16-- 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 

    14 if my people, who are called by my name, will …humble themselves and pray

    …and seek my face 

    …and turn from their wicked ways, [repentance is the first step of real turning]

    then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

                While that Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., we have a temple here tonight, not at 3rd & Howard, but in the common gathering across this city of God’s people come together for the very purposes we just read about.  Other churches are even praying at the same time across our city and State.  God’s ear is cocked to hear our prayers.  May our hearts be sensitive to hear His voice too.

    So let’s begin with a song or two of adoration and worship. Feel free to join us in singing right where you are.

    [Andrew: worship]

    PRAYER SESSION 1

    Now let’s focus on different arenas of God’s kindness.  For perhaps a little smoother flow for all of us, I’m going to invite those of us here tonight to pray at the mic.  Here’s the drill I would suggest. 

    1.) If you want to continue praying about a topic/issue/focus/ arena someone is praying about, stand on the right side.  When the person at the mic is done praying, if there is anyone here wanting to pray along the same theme, step up to the mic.

    2.)  If you feel led to introduce a new theme/topic/focus, stand on the left.  And when there is no one on this (right) side who wants to keep praying about the focus of the moment, you are free to step forward and introduce us to a new focus. 

    Those of us here are also free to simply stay seated and listen to others pray as well. 

    If you see us moving back and forth between these two sides, don’t get distracted.  Hopefully what this will facilitate in praying according to the leading of the Holy Spirit will help us all move together as one tonight.

    Let me suggest several possible focuses/arenas of God’s kindness and start us into just one of them.

    • Spiritual blessings in Christ—past, present, future
    • The city and part of the country we live in.
    • The material blessings God has given
    • The relational blessings/people/friendships/love
    • Families/Family of God
    • Work, employment
    • Nation
    • Society

    [Move to REPENTANCE]

    Repentance can be just as or more difficult than limiting our praying to praise.  As Protestants, we’re not used to confessing sins publicly or privately.  So it may feel a bit strange at first to do this together. 

                I want you to think about a verse from 1 Peter 4. 

    17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

    “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
        what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

    19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

                There is a difference, I think, between God’s judgment and His discipline.  Discipline is how God deals with us to move us to greater and greater Christ-likeness in our behavior, thoughts and character.  Judgment happens over sin.  God judged our sin at the cross in the sacrifice of Jesus for us. We will never experience God’s wrath for our sin; Jesus did.

                But where there is sin in our lives and the church that continually stands between us and God, I think God does allow some forms of judgment to happen.  And Peter tells us that when God judges sin in our world, he starts with the CHURCH. 

                So I think it is appropriate for us to spend some time talking with God about first sins in the church, God’s people.  I’m not asking us to invent sins or think up stuff God hasn’t made us aware of.  I’m asking us to let God speak and re-speak to us about how we, His Bride, have been sinning against Him…failing Him… in ways that would prevent Him from coming near in blessing. 

                So I would like us to follow the same format as the previous prayer time.  Let’s stick with a topic of repentance as long as the Holy Spirit has things to say to and through us about it.  Let’s work hard not to jump around too quickly topically.

    PRAYERS OF REPENTANCE

    [If time…]

    PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

    • This is public praying so please make it about someone or something we are all involved with or concerned about. e. while Aunt Matilda may need prayer for her bunions, that’s something for your private prayer time.  However, praying for a safe journey for Bruce David Anderson home from PNG right now in this nightmare of travel is something we are all concerned about. 
    • Let’s ask God things that might relate to this specific time and health crisis: healing, vaccine development, health workers, protection, spiritual boldness, revival, persecuted believers, etc.

    When our time is up, Andrew will come and lead us in a closing song or two. 

    [Andrew:  worship]