Sabbath in Capernaum

A powerful and strong man arises from among the group seated upon the floor, you all know me, or my miraculous story, but for the others, I am the crippled man, given up for dead, but my four friends here carried me to Jesus and then Jesus promptly forgave me, and that is the most important part, sins forgiven and forsaken, and then Jesus went way above that, for I am now fully healed and restored, he then sent me back home, miracles flowed nonstop, and here we are in a Chapel to praise him.  And yes, I do live right across the street.  We are here in his house, God’s House, then let us be reverent, respect him, and draw nigh unto him.  Matthew 21:13 “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  Let us never let this building be anything but a haven to the healed, restored and forgiven sinners.  What we used to be is not how we now live our lives today.  Psalm 24:3-4 “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”  Let us take a moment in quiet soul searching, so that we can be here clean, and if you are not, confession is good for the soul, let us draw aside, let those close beside minister to those souls in need.

There are people among us who were once deaf, blind, crippled, left for dead, leprous, wounded, sin sick and sorely oppressed and distressed, but that is what we once were, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  James 5:16 “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  James 5:16 ERV “So always tell each other the wrong things you have done [to them]. Then pray for each other. Do this so that God can heal you. Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray, and great things will happen.”    

James 5:13-16 “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Then a sweet voice breaks into a familiar song of praise and all join in, and that leads on to another, hearts and voices unite, heaven draws nigh, and the peace of God flows through the place.  Conviction comes in, and repentance and confession are quick, all that would tarnish the soul is purged, as the group slips into small clusters, and prayer is heard, both in thanks as well as in intercession for themselves and for others, and in linking and petitioning on behalf of those whose burden lies heavy on their heart. Quote; “A common meeting to worship God is not the place to open the privacies of the heart. What is the object of assembling together? Is it to inform God, to instruct Him by telling Him all we know in prayer? We meet together to edify one another by an interchange of thoughts and feelings, to gather strength, and light, and courage by becoming acquainted with one another’s hopes and aspirations; and by our earnest, heartfelt prayers, offered up in faith, we receive refreshment and vigor from the Source of our strength. These meetings should be most precious seasons and should be made interesting to all who have any relish for religious things.” {Pr 203} Quote; “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” {CSA 26}

Quoted from Dr William E Sangster on Prayer; “Praise: begin with Praise, Praise God, that’s the way to begin one’s prayer, the highest activity of the human soul is adoration.  There is nothing any mortal ever does greater than this that he adores God that he recognizes where true worth is and worships.  That’s the height of all human achievement really, to adore God and adore him that he is the God, he is, that he’s on the Throne, it’s his universe and he’s on the throne, adore him, begin your prayer with praise and adoration that God is God, God really is. 

Thanksgiving: Move onto thanksgiving, always, even on grey days, and when you’re in sorrow, there’s something to be thankful for.  Even on the darkest days, there are things to be thankful for, so thank God, and thank God for this, that most days are not dark.  Thank him for health, for friends, for love, for home, for books, for flowers, for fun, for all the good things that make this life good and if you’re not feeling thankful, just go over them for a little while in your mind attend to them and your heart will flame with gratitude and thanksgiving will rise, because it must.

Adoration: Adoration, thanks giving, guidance, wait on God for guidance, remember this, we can of ourselves affect our own sensitivity to God’s guidance, we can ourselves, to some extent regulate, our awareness of the pressure of his guiding hand, do let me say to you my dear friends, and every one of you will know this, when you’ve been living near the center, when you’ve been diligent in prayer, when you’ve been deep in God’s book, you know, you know yourselves, you’ve been more aware of his will in your life but when in those times you’ve scamped your prayers and neglected the book, you can yourselves regulate to some extent your sensitivity to guidance.  Live under the pressure of his guiding hands, be quiet before him, say in your hearts, Father if you have anything special to say to me, will you say it now.  Listen, listen to God, and after guidance turn to intercession. 

Intercession: Now this is the big part of prayer, which is intercession.  With the saints of God, intercession takes more time than all the other parts put together.  Mostly their prayer is adoration and intercession.  I find it so, in 30 years of study of the lives of the saints I find that more and more their prayers are compounded of adoration and intercession.  Now go to God, for other people, you know what I mean, by intercession.  Prayers for others, it’s the most unselfish part of praying.  Prayer for others, you will do it with method of course, but keep lists, do not leave your intercession to the chance recollection of the moment.  You will never cover the people who have a claim in your prayers.  It seems that we all of us have to live with respect to the clock, you find it necessary no doubt to have lists as I do myself, and you may just have an urgent list, which is constantly changing for every day, and you will have other lists that spread over the week and maybe some of them over the month but you can keep them at the back of your diary or at the back of your Bible so that they’re always at hand and you will intercede with God, you will take your place in the company of those who most affect this life and all the future, you will join the thin ranks of the great intercessors, there’s nothing God needs more than to recruit more people in his army of intercessors.

Petition: Last and not least Petition, by which I mean prayer for yourself.  There is a great danger with so many people’s praying, it becomes too selfish.  Some people think that prayer is so Holy an occupation that it couldn’t be selfish, don’t you believe it, you can be as selfish on your knees as you can be selfish anywhere else.  Analyze your own prayers at times, see of how much of it is made up of what I called just now, give me, give me, give me.  And if it isn’t for yourself, it’s for your relatives, which is only selfishness once removed.  Give me, give me, give me, how much are you thinking on the wider world and its enormous needs, of course you can be selfish in praying, and so I say petition, by which I mean personal requests to God are the last and the least element in your morning prayers and always keep it in that unimportant place, well there it is, a little prayer pattern that you are passing on to those beginning in the Holy Life, and you have said to them, a minimum of 15 minutes early in the day of Praise, Adoration, take those words as synonymous, and then Thanks Giving and then Guidance and then Intercession and then Petition, close it off with a simple act of dedication. When you are in confession, face it, don’t bundle all your beastly mess together at the prayers, in one portmanteau phrase, “and forgive me all my sins,” but itemize the nasty things and look at them in the light of God and remember, I said that! Oh dear, I did that, a Christian, God forgive me, blush over the dirty things and ask his forgiveness, you’ll be less likely to stumble to it next time.”

Draw nigh unto God and he will draw nigh unto you, God is, and he is the rewarder of all them that diligently seek him.  Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.”  Romans 13:10 “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.”  Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  When sin and selfishness leave for good, and we really listen to God, we find that as we draw nearer, with prayer comes confession, with confession comes power, with power comes the miracles of a changed life, a re-birth, and so often a healing of the soul, healing of relationships, both with God and man, but many are the physical healings as well, Matthew 15:31 “Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.”   1 Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” So a Sabbath in Capernaum draws to a close, and as the day closes, many hearts have been touched, lives changed, God has drawn close to man, they responded to the power of God, and mighty things happened, are you going to allow God full and free access to change your life??  Remember to draw nigh unto God for he will draw nigh unto you, and then miraculous things happen.  Matthew 21:13b “My house shall be called the house of prayer” and so it is each Sabbath in Capernaum, prayer is heard, the power of God is there and changes happen in lives, where miracles are common place, in Capernaum, oh by the way, “When God steps in, Miracles always happen.”