Football season is in full swing and fans are happy to see the regular referees back on the job. The Ravens are looking impressive with a 3-1 record while the Steelers are struggling at 1-2. With only 16 games in the season the New Orleans Saints are desperate to avoid an 0-4 start. Has any team lost every game of the first quarter of the season and made the playoffs? But in each game, it is the last quarter that matters most. Can you hold onto the lead, or can you come from behind?
However, I’m not as interested in football games as I am interested in time. This October newsletter article is the first one of the last quarter of 2012! And I am very interested in how we at LRPC are going to end the year. I pray we finish strong and encouraged in the Lord together. I hope we see the need around us and are zealous for God’s glory and good works. The holiday season offers many opportunities to invite friends and family to church, or to talk about our faith in numerous settings. Our Fall Festival is in October as well as Reformation Sunday and Halloween; Thanksgiving and Christmas should be natural open doors for Christians to share the Good News. But are we ready for a last quarter push?
What if we are too distracted? What if our priorities are wrong? What if we just don’t feel up to it? Well, a good football coach will give the team a pep talk and a good team captain will amp up the energy level!! We can talk to ourselves and tell ourselves all the reasons we should be doing something. But I want us to focus on something else. I am asking you to talk to God. Talk to God at home by yourself, in the car on the way to work, with your family after dinner, with friends over the phone, with the church in the evening. Talk to God about your friends and family members who need Him so badly, about your neighbors and co-workers who don’t even know He exists; ask your heavenly Father to work in their hearts and work through you so they may come to Jesus. Allow prayer to be Athe conversation where your life and your God meet! Let’s have our preparation for a successful final quarter of this year be coming more often to God in prayer. Let’s come with childlike faith and leave behind any cynicism we may have picked up in the past. Let’s remember how God has worked in the story of our lives and share that with those around us. Let’s pray in hope to our heavenly Father who is Arich in mercy and has such great love toward those who are dead in their sins – the One who is able and willing to make them Aalive with Christ. (see Eph. 2:4-5).
And as you talk to God, trust Him. Now that you have prayed for Him to change their hearts, look for opportunities to do good to them in the name and for the sake of Christ. Send a card, make a phone call, take over some cookies, invite them to church and then out to lunch. And keep prayingBin fact, enlist others to pray for you as you pray for people. We’re not in this alone, it’s a team effort. God has brought us together for a time like this, let’s pray that many more are brought in by God’s grace too.
Prayer should not be a last ditch effort, thrown up a the end as the final play, hoping that someone, somehow, gets their hands on it and hauls it in for the touchdown. Instead, it’s the sustained push down the field. Let’s go to the Lord of All these last three months, and pray for His almighty blessing; and may we, as it were, wear down the opposition in the process. With heartfelt thanks for all of your prayers for us this year, I remain constant in my prayers for you,
*This phrase by David Powlison caught my attention in his foreword to Paul Miller=s
book, A Praying Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2009).