Wow!  Lots of new posts this week!  I’m really excited about the direction this blog is heading in.   Here is another Sunday recap, just in case you haven’t had enough AHC this week.

We met at the Sellers’s house as usual and had a dinner of chicken fried rice, corn bread, and steamed veggies.  (The Harris’s  brought disposable dinnerware to help make cleanup a bit easier.)  We took communion together and adjourned to the living room.

April read a little excerpt from C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters:

The amateurish suggestions in your last letter warn me that it is high time for me to write to you fully on the painful subject of prayer. You might have spared the comment that my advice about his prayers for his mother it “proved singularly unfortunate”. That is not the sort of thing that a nephew should
write to his uncle—nor a junior tempter to the under-secretary of a department.  It also reveals an unpleasant desire to shift responsibility; you must learn to pay for your own blunders.

The best thing, where it is possible, is to keep the patient from the serious intention of praying altogether. When the patient is an adult recently re-converted to the Enemy’s party, like your man, this is best done by encouraging him to remember, or to think he remembers, the parrot-like nature of his prayers in childhood. In reaction against that, he may be persuaded to aim at something entirely spontaneous, inward, informal, and unregularised; and what this will actually mean to a beginner will be an effort to produce in himself a vaguely devotional mood in which real concentration of will and intelligence
have no part. One of their poets, Coleridge, has recorded that he did not pray “with moving lips and bended knees” but merely “composed his spirit to love” and indulged “a sense of supplication”. That is exactly the sort of prayer we want; and since it bears a superficial resemblance to the prayer of silence as
practised by those who are very far advanced in the Enemy’s service, clever and lazy patients can be taken in by it for quite a long time. At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they
are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.

Okay, the excerpt is pretty long, but you should really go and read the whole book.  It provides a different perspective on Satan’s tactics against Christians, individually and collectively.  We discussed this particular passage in light of our journey together as a church.  When we started as a church we were pretty traditional.  We had weekly sermons, an order of worship, and most of the trappings of an ordinary Baptist church.  Over the past 7 years, God has taken his Almighty chisel and chipped away anything that had legalism attached to it.  One thing that we talked frequently about was “the prayer position.”  We laughed at our reaction when someone would call the group to prayer; everyone would scoot forward in his seat and bow his head.  We didn’t want to do anything out of an obligation to the legalism that many of us had been raised with it.

One awesome thing about our Lord is that when we throw the baby out with the bathwater, He’s waiting to give the baby back to us. (April brought us that little gem from Paul Viera’s Jesus Has Left the Building.) In reading this passage, we can see that a “prayer position” can be beneficial to our prayer life.  It doesn’t have to be the same one you grew up with or the same one you see someone else using.  Just doing something different with your body can be enough to get your mind in “prayer mode.”

“But wait,” you say, “aren’t we supposed to be praying without ceasing?  I can’t be in a prayer position all the time.”  We must differentiate between being open to the Holy Spirit’s speaking at times and true, devoted prayer.  Both are necessary for the well-being of the church.

After this, I brought a particular Psalm that was meaningful to me that week to the discussion:

1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me. – Psalm 13 (NLT)

We talked about this Psalm in regard to the healing that God is affecting in our body (and in our bodies).  We prayed together at this point and sang some praises.  April then read us a story that I will link to in another post, as this one’s getting a bit long.