Dear BLCF Friends,
Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:
- attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
- attendees give their contact information upon arrival
- attendees observe two meters social distance while seated
- attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
- attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.
– Pastor Steve
Music Special: Church (Take Me Back) Cochren & Co. Worship Video with lyrics – https://youtu.be/ns8lIG6cLc8
Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.
Message for Sunday:
‘The Power of Patient, Persistent, and Purposeful Prayer’
© June 19, 2022, by Steve Mickelson
Based on Messages Shared at BLCF on August 15, 2021, January 19, 2020, and January 31, 2016
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow) Instrumental – https://youtu.be/Mk4p3rihONU
Music Special: Mandy Harvey // It Is Well // Bethel Music Cover (Lyrics) – https://youtu.be/BkTaVYhOFbw
Opening Hymn #392: Take Time to Be Holy
Take Time to Be Holy (Lyrics) – Teri Elmore – Renee Naden – https://youtu.be/WblkcQYxdp8
Responsive Reading #630 (Christ Teaches Prayer – from Luke 11 and John 16)
Message by Steve Mickelson:
‘The Power of Patient, Persistent, and Purposeful Prayer’
Let us pray…
Good morning and welcome to BLCF Church’s Sunday Morning Praise and Worship Service, on this last Sunday of Spring, which is Father’s Day. A day in which we remember, respect, and show love to our fathers and, appreciate all that our fathers have made to our own lives.
Yesterday, Sophie and I dropped by a church before going on to another church function, to pay our respects to a family who had lost a man who was a beloved husband and father of two daughters. We have known the family for many years. It was poignant to see how much the daughters cared for their dad demonstrating their grief and sorrow, knowing that their loss would be felt even more today as this would be their first Father’s Day without their dad.
I thought it appropriate today, before we show our appreciation to our fathers here on earth, let us reflect upon our Father and creator and the significance of His love in our lives. Our lesson, today, is entitled ‘The Power of Patient, Persistent, and Purposeful Prayer’, where we will explore the purpose and need for prayer in our Christian walk, as prayer is one of the best ways to draw closer to Him on a daily basis.
As Jesus ascended into heaven, our Lord instructed his Disciples to become Apostles or messengers of the Gospel. Jesus said to obediently share his Gospel unto the ends of the earth.
Our lesson today will focus on one of these aspects of the Christian Ministry, which is prayer. Prayer is found on the top spoke or the top of the cross in our wheel illustration.
Today’s lesson has the title, ‘The Power of Patient, Persistent, and Purposeful Prayer’. Besides the obvious use of alliteration, we see that prayer needs to be patient, persistent, and purposeful.
The Apostle Paul implores us to pray without ceasing, as we see in the Scripture passage, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
But what did Paul mean when he said to “pray without ceasing”? We find an answer to the question posed on the site “gotquestions.org”:
Question: “What does it mean to pray without ceasing?” (gotquestions.org)
For Christians, prayer should be like breathing. You do not have to think to breathe because the atmosphere exerts pressure on your lungs and essentially forces you to breathe. That is why it is more difficult to hold your breath than it is to breathe. Similarly, when we are born into the family of God, we enter into a spiritual atmosphere where God’s presence and grace exert pressure, or influence, on our lives. Prayer is the normal response to that pressure. As believers, we have all entered the divine atmosphere to breathe the air of prayer.
Unfortunately, many believers hold their “spiritual breath” for long periods, thinking brief moments with God are sufficient to allow them to survive. But such restricting of their spiritual intake is caused by sinful desires. The fact is that every believer must be continually in the presence of God, constantly breathing in His truths, to be fully functional.
It is easier for Christians to feel secure by presuming on—instead of depending on—God’s grace. Too many believers become satisfied with physical blessings and have little desire for spiritual ones. When programs, methods, and money produce impressive results, there is an inclination to confuse human success with divine blessing. When that happens, passionate longing for God and yearning for His help will be missing. Continual, persistent, incessant prayer is an essential part of Christian living and flows out of humility and dependence on God.
As followers of the resurrected Christ, we must pray as frequently as we breathe the air. Just as breathing sustains our physical life, prayer sustains our spiritual life.
There are a number of reasons for prayer, which we shall explore in today’s lesson. As we explore the variety of reasons and goals for prayer, we may find ourselves pausing as to what is the correct way to begin to pray or ask ourselves do we know how to pray? This is what happened when the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, as we see in Luke 11:1-13 (ESV), where the Lord, who had just completed his prayer, answered how they should pray:
The Lord’s Prayer
11 Now Jesu was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
Jesus followed his prayer with a Parable to help Disciples understand the motives and goals of prayer, as we continue in Luke, Chapter 11:
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence[c] he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
You see that the persistent person asks not for himself, but for something for a friend. And what father could deny a request from a son whom he loves.
Jesus said we are to pray to God, the Father in Heaven, asking persistently and purposely, with the patient expectation, to be answered by His child. A “child of God” is loved by the Father, as well as being blessed with the Holy Spirit, by the grace of the Lord, Christ Jesus. We, as His children, only need to ask.
Jesus then tells another Parable of a persistent widow, whose persistent petitions are eventually answered by a judge, who has neither fear of God nor respect for others. We must understand that only the righteous prayer made by a believer, who has faith in God and respect for others, will be answered promptly, as we see in Luke 18:1-8 (ESV):
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
18 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
We see that Jesus concluded the Parable by raising the question: “Will find faith on the day that he returns?” We must understand that only faith in the Son of Man can mitigate the certain judgment is given to those who have sinned and lack faith and prayer without faith is futile.
The title of this Parable is The Parable of the Persistent Widow. From the perspective that Christ is the bridegroom and the believers, who comprise his Church, are his bride. When the members of the church, the bride, see the groom, Jesus dies and does not believe that he was resurrected, the bride becomes a widow in faith. Without faith, there is no sanctification, no savior, with no hope of a resurrection. It is only by faith in the groom’s resurrection may the bond of marriage be restored. Without faith in the resurrected Christ, there will be no response, no answer from God, and no hope in justice earned by way of the Lord’s sacrifice.
But Jesus did rise from the dead, walked on the earth for some 40 days, and was seen by several hundred witnesses before he ascended back to heaven.
Unlike the widow in the Parable, who pleas for justice from a judge who has no regard for God or others, we have an advocate who loves both His Father in Heaven, as well as others. Jesus, the Son of Man, gifts those who believe in him with salvation, sanctification, and an advocate in the Holy Spirit. Jesus demonstrates unconditional love for others and trusts in his Heavenly Father by surrendering himself to the judgment on the cross for the sins of humanity.
I would like to conclude our lesson today by examining the heartfelt prayer that Jesus made to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. this prayer is found in the Gospel of John 17, starting with Verse 1, which is actually a threefold prayer, as we read:
17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
John 17 (ESV) – The High Priestly Prayer – Jesus prays for His disciples (Verses 6-19):
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
John 17 (ESV) – The High Priestly Prayer – Jesus prays for all believers (Verses 20-26):
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #434: Sweet Hour of Prayer
Sweet Hour Of Prayer (Hymns with lyrics) – https://youtu.be/Yz5pD6C9h-w
Benediction – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18): Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.