Saturday, November 18, 2006

Uncommon Prayer ~ The 12 Stations of Love

Pastor Ray Pritchard has provided a format for an Uncommon Prayer Adventure by identifying 12 components of love from Romans 12. Use his brief teaching notes to introduce the focus, then pray through each of the 12 components.

Options:
  1. Stay together as one group, focus on one of the components at a time, use a song or chorus as a transition from one component to the next. Vary the type of praying each time: partners, prayer circles, several pray aloud for the entire group, silence, brief testimony related to the verse.
  2. Arrange 12 stations (locations), each with one of the 12 components. Divide the group, assign each group one of the 12 stations as their starting point, give 3-4 minutes at each station, move by singing a transition song . You can give specific instructions at each station (written or from a guide who stays at the station). Regroup for a final prayer and debrief ("What was your experience like?")

1. Love Must be Sincere.

"Let love be Genuine" (v. 9a).

The word "genuine" literally means "without hypocrisy." It originally referred to an actor who played a certain role on stage. It came to mean anyone who acts contrary to his own true feelings. It particularly applies to those who put forth the appearance of virtue that they do not actually possess. Eugene Peterson (The Message) offers this paraphrase: "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it."

2. Love Must be Discerning.

"Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good" (v. 9b).

Love hates evil! Think about that for a second. Often we think of love as an ooey-gooey emotion that causes us to lose our sense of right and wrong, but that's far from true Christian love. We cannot love evil and love God at the same time any more than we can love money and love God at the same time. Here's another way to put it. Don't ever get over being shocked by evil. That's hard to do in a world where almost anything goes. Here's a good test. When was the last time you blushed? In the olden days, we blushed when something risqué appeared on television. Now we hardly notice it or we laugh at it. Alexander Pope, the 18th-century English poet, offered this warning:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
Sometimes we say, “Love is blind.” God says, “No, love needs clear vision.” Our love needs discernment or else we will end up loving things we ought not to love—and entering into relationships that are not good for us. While love is supreme, it is never enough.

Not every relationship is a good relationship.
Not every choice is a good choice.
Not every friendship is good for us.
Not every job is a wise career move.
Not every roommate is a healthy choice.
Not every purchase is a wise use of our money.

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2 comments:

NPPN Blog said...

Phil,

Very cool. Your idea is an excellent example of how preaching and corporate prayer can complement each other.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ray

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