REFLECTIONS & ENCOURAGEMENTS: understanding and growing through the covid-19 challenge.
Bishop Peter Brain Reflection 43: Adoration drives away Alarm.
The pandemic has presented us with the opportunity to spend more time with God than with our friends. In stark contrast to brothers and sisters in developing nations, especially those where persecution is always just around the corner, we tend to speak to others before we talk to God. Only this morning, a young friend in Uganda, who has not been paid since May, at the request of his nations President, was planning to fast and pray this weekend. How can we emulate this wisdom? Only prayer can cast aside our folly. The pandemic is surely God’s gracious nudge in the direction of humility and reality, expressed in prayer.
The reality is that God delights to hear and answer the prayers of His children. For the next four weeks [DV] I thought it may be helpful to reminded us of the ACTS acrostic for prayer. Adoration, confession, thankfulness and supplication provide us with a balanced diet of prayer.
In Mission Praise [number 139] is a simple prayer chorus that runs:
Father, we adore You, lay our lives before You: how we love You!
Jesus, we adore You, lay our lives before You: how we love You!
Spirit, we adore You, lay our lives before You: how we love You!
We adore those we respect and love. One proper response, especially with God, is to let them know that we love them. We gladly give Him our life since we know that he loves us and that we can trust Him. We are persuaded of the Father’s love because the Lord Jesus came into the world to lay down his life for us sinners [Romans 5:8] and because the Holy Spirit opened our hearts, minds and wills to accept him as our Saviour and Lord in all things, even troubles like pandemics [Rom 5:3-5].
The very act of lifting our hearts upwards to God in adoration, without and before any requests, is to recognise the reality that we must not only let God be God, but that He alone is worthy of all our affection and attention. The contemplation of the Godhead, which is possible through reading the Bible, worship and responding with prayerful adoration, humbles us and expands our minds. The 20 year old C H Spurgeon opened his sermon saying: and whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. [Quoted by J I Packer in Knowing God page 14].
The rush of life, and let’s be honest, our indiscipline in giving prayer and Bible pondering the place they deserve in our lives, can so easily see us worried, harried, despondent and disappointed with God. Adoration will cure us of these maladies by lifting our eyes higher than the very worldly diversions that sap our energy, feed our pride and dilute our faith. The person and work of each member of the Godhead gives us ample, indeed an inexhaustible treasury of riches that will clear our heads, focus our minds and captivate our hearts afresh. It all begins with adoration, the most selfless emotion of which nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin [William Temple].
Here are some passages, if prayed through are sure to lead to adoration. Of the Father: Psalm 103:11-18 and Ephesians 3:14-21. Of the Son: John 1:1-18 and Philippians 2:1-11. Of the Holy Spirit: John 14:15-27 and Romans 8:9-17. Of the Godhead: John 16:5-16 and Ephesians 1:1-14.
My father used to say to me “lift your feet and your body will go with you”. In other words “don’t drag your feet”. Adoration puts a spring in our step that will keep us joyfully on track with Jesus.
Peter Brain 29th September, 2020