Last week my friend Eric spoke to the youth group about James 5:13-18 primarily focusing on the idea of effective prayer. He went through the ACTS prayer model with kids but gave it a twist I hadn't noticed before. The acronym ACTS is:
Adoration (Eric described this as focused on Who God is)
Confession (Who we are)
Thanksgiving (What God has done. "Part of prayer is worship. The two can never be separated.")
Supplication (Trusting God to supply or as I phrased, What we hope God will do)
Eric also talked about a fifth element, Lamentation, which involves bringing our sadness and pain to God. I've heard the model many times before but I hadn't heard it described in terms of the relation of each element to its focus in God or us and found that very interesting. I hope to incorporate that way of thinking more in my own prayer life.
Eric went on to talk a little about what made Elijah's prayer effective. It was effective because Elijah knew God's will as expressed in scripture and prayed confidently in line with that because he believed what was written. Therefore in our own prayer lives we should know and trust the promises of God. In turn that will direct us in how to pray and what to expect. I thought it was a very helpful discussion of prayer. Afterwards as small groups we took 15-20 minutes to just pray through the model. The guys in the group I was with really seemed to be grasping the basics of the idea and it was encouraging to pray with them.
Eric graduated from seminary last week and has returned home to North Carolina to start an internship in a church. I'll miss him. He was a fun guy and genuinely interested in the youth and in helping them to grow in their relationship with God and especially in the area of worship. I hope he's blessed in his new church and that church is blessed with him.
In other general life news Steve, a few other friends, and myself saw Iron Man two weeks ago and really liked it. Steve and I saw Speed Racer last week and liked it less than Iron Man but had fun anyway. Monday we took the day off and went to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. That was fun and educational and involved lions and tigers and tyrannosaurs, oh my! Btw, should a tyrannosaur named "Sue" be referred to as a tyrannosaurus regina? Though if the name was given by a deadbeat papa tyrannosaur as a way to make the offspring strong.... We also saw exhibits on Pre-Columbian America, the religious customs of various Pacific islands, Tibet, and a special exhibit on mythical creatures. We enjoyed it but it can be very tiring walking from Union Station to the Museum, walking around the museum all day, and then walking back to the station. Tomorrow we'll go see Prince Caspian and I'll enjoy it while Steve grumbles about things not being like the book. I also got to see some of the youth from church perform in a production of the musical of Alice in Wonderland. It was even weirder than the book. Still the did a good job and Amber was especially good as the Cheshire Cat doing some impressive soul music dancing. At work we've started another massive summer weeding project so I'm helping to shuffle up to 10,000 books off the mortal coil.
Verse of the day:
"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." James 5:13-18 (NIV)
Random Conversation and quote:
"Who knows what it means to adore?" leader
"It's like a dog." student
Blank look. leader
"Like love." same student after a whispered conference with her friend
"Exactly." relieved leader
"Kids connect to God through games." Unnamed youth pastor.