Brothers and Sisters:
This week I will be sharing with you certain priorities that we must embrace to prevent us from feeling overwhelmed in these challenging times. First among them is the Priority of the Kingdom. The scholars agreed that Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom than anything else, for his mission was to re-establish God’s rule over his people. The Kingdom of God is present wherever God’s effective will is done. It was present in Jesus, who from the cradle to the grave desired only to do the will of God. His invitation to his followers to ‘seek first the Kingdom’ must be understood as an invitation to them to allow God to reign in their lives. In simple words that even a little child could understand, ‘It is inviting every one of them to say Yes to God’s will and God’s way for their own lives in the first place. Then to follow this by working passionately and wholeheartedly to see others submit their lives to God’s will and God’s way.’
At the very heart of being a part of the Kingdom of God is the necessity for a life of prayer. The children of the Kingdom are praying people. The gospels provide us with many stories of Jesus engaged in the activity of prayer. His was a life of prayer, of constant communion with the Father. He sought the mind of God on every matter. Sometimes he would be engaged in the activity of prayer a great while before day, at other times he would be found at prayer through the long and lonely hours of the night. Still at other times, while in the company of others, it was sufficient only to lift his eyes to heaven in praise and thanksgiving and make his request to God. In times when sorely troubled he would agonize in prayer for long hours. We must not forget that at the beginning of his ministry, he went on an extended retreat for forty days in the wilderness. How else could he have been faithful in fulfilling God’s will for his life apart from a life of prayer? We make far too many wrong decisions because of our failure to seek God’s directions in all matters, whether great or small.
When one speaks of the Priority of Prayer, it is absolutely essential that we become a church where members of all ages learn how to pray effectively. The obvious starting point is to improve our effectiveness in praying alone. We have been taught so much, but have practiced so little, that we need to remind ourselves of some basic features that we have neglected. Remember the value of ACTS (“Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving & Supplication’) in our daily devotional habits. We must also explore the benefits of praying together for there are many promises for those who pray with one heart and one mind. The truth is, we must pray or we will perish!