October 28, 2020
Revelation 8:1-5
When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
New International Version (NIV)
                Do we feel helpless and hopeless these days?  Alfred Lord Tennyson was right when he wrote, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”  Against an invisible enemy, the church responds with prayer.  One pastor observed, you can tell more about a pastor’s heart in the way he prays than in the way he preaches. 
                The apostles devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word as the church exploded in growth.  Later in the first century, as Christians were being greatly persecuted, John saw a vision of heaven where the angel sent up incense along with the prayers of all God’s people.  These prayers rose up before God.  We must never doubt that God hears all of our prayers. 
                Not only does God hear, but he responds.  In John’s vision of heaven, the same angel who burns the incense along with our prayers, takes the censor and flings the fire down on the earth.  Symbolically, our prayers on earth rise to heaven and God responds by sending his power to the earth.  God flings fire when God’s people pray. 
                So what is the key to the success of the church in the world today.  Do we need more billboards?  Is advertising the issue?  No.  As Leonard Ravenhill preached, “You don’t have to advertise a fire.”  When the church is praying fervently God will fling his fire to the earth.  People will know the Lord is at work in his people. 
                The words of Robert Murray McCheyne still take my breath away:  “We are who we are on our knees and nothing more.”  So who are we?  We are the church militant, marching on our knees, lifting our prayers to heaven and watching God respond with fire.  Whatever else we are, we can never be helpless and hopeless if we pray.  “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”  So let’s pray and watch for our God to do what he does.  
Pray with me:         
Father, we thank you that nothing hinders our prayers from reaching you.  Let the lifting our hearts, beseeching hands and words make us a living sacrifice holy and pleasing in your sight today.  Rather let our hearts be without words than our words be without heart.  Lord listen to your children praying.  We are calling on you because we have no other plan.  The church will not change the world primarily through the government but through the unstoppable force of prayer.  Fling fire on the earth today in response to our prayers, we ask.  Change your church and help your church to change the world the only way we know how:  through the good news that Jesus Christ has come, died, and risen again.  In his matchless name we pray.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:11-12
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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