Sermon Series: Hometown Missionary
Message 2 of 5: The Witness of Prayer
Scriptures: Philippians 1:1-11; Numbers 6:24-26
This message was offered Sunday, 7/15/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.
Click Here for Bishop Ken Carter’s Story: The Gospel, a stranger, and the burnt ends of the brisket
What about this story speaks to you?
We live in a missionary age. Less than 20% of the American population actively practices the Christian faith.
So where do we begin as hometown missionaries? We begin by hanging out with people, really listening, really caring. Treat people are people, not projects.
As we share back and forth, needs are revealed. This leads to praying. Hometown missionaries need to know how to pray out loud when the moment presents itself.
1. The questions
Be gracious and humble. Prayer is never imposed or forced on someone.
- How can I best pray for you?
- May I pray right now? May I offer a blessing?
- May I touch your shoulder? May I hold your hand?
- Take your time. Make space to help the person realized God is already present. Look the person in the eye.
The witness of prayer: When I was in seminary, I was walking with a classmate. I shared a concern and asked for prayer. He stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and said, “Let’s pray now.” It was so meaningful, I still remember is 20 years later.
2. Pray out loud
A. Offer a Sentence Prayer: Name for God + Verb + Name of Person
- Lord, help my friend Steve
- Jesus, strengthen Lori
- Holy Spirit, fill John with wisdom
You’ve been listening to the person, so you know the need.
B. Offer a blessing: Consider memorizing Numbers 6:24-26 (The Priestly Benediction/Blessing God gave to Moses and Aaron). Write the blessing on a piece of paper and put it on your mirror as you brush your teeth or near your computer screen.
Here’s what it means:
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
- May the Lord constantly bring good into your life
- May the Lord protect you and guard all that is sacred and precious about you
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
- Imagine how a person’s face lights up when they hold a baby. God’s face shines on you in the same way. This is a reminder that God delights in you. May you know how beloved you are.
- Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting better than what we deserve. We all need grace. Grace upon grace.
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
- Imagine you walk into a room and a person is working at a computer. The person stops what she’s doing and looks up at you, giving you her full attention. God is fully attentive to you. God is here, already at work, already reaching out to you, loving you.
- May you know God’s presence and peace
Remember to continue to make space after the prayer or blessing. Often, the realization of God’s presence causes the person to want to talk more, to share even more deeply.
3. Follow up – The Evidence of Prayer
As in the story, promise to continue to pray. Follow up with the person with a written note, text, call, or Facebook message. A written prayer can be read again and again. Offer something simple- I’m praying for you. I’m here for you
When you see the person, offer something simple like “It’s so good to see you.” Leave space to let them lead the conversation.
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.
Very powerful sermon. Especially helpful to me since I feel I need “pointers” in praying…especially in groups. Thank you for sharing this on-line.