At every opportunity, pray in the Spirit with every kind of prayer and petition. Stay alert for the same reason, always persevering in your intercession for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18—EHV)
We all know that it is through his Holy Word that the Lord talks to us. If we want to know what the Lord wants us to know, we turn to the Scriptures. It is there we learn about Jesus Christ, true God who came down from heaven to become a man to serve as our substitute and die in our place only to rise from the dead three days later to assure us of a perfect life with him in heaven forever.
But what do we do if we want to talk to God? We go to him in prayer, which is our one-sided conversation with God. Prayer then, is an important part of a Christian’s life. In our verse above Paul mentions prayer four times (petition and intercession are different words for prayer). Paul wrote these words toward the end of his “full armor of God” section, in which he encourages his readers to put on the “sword of the spirit,” “the helmet of salvation,” and so on to protect oneself against the attacks of the devil. When someone goes into war, he might have defensive weapons, like a helmet or a shield, to protect him against attacks from the enemy. But we also have offensive weapons, like a sword, to attack and kill the enemy. Prayer is both a defensive and offensive weapon against the devil. It is a defensive weapon when we pray that God would guard and protect us against the attacks of Satan and every evil. It is an offensive weapon when we pray that God would destroy the devil and all his works. So again, and again we turn to the Lord for help against our greatest enemy, we turn to him when we are tempted to sin, so that we might overcome that temptation with the help of the Lord, and we turn to him for a stronger faith when the devil attacks what we believe. And we know that the Lord will answer that prayer when we turn to him in his Word.
That is what it means to “pray in the Spirit,” as Paul mentions above. To pray in the Spirit is to pray in faith, for it is the Holy Spirit who works faith into our hearts through the Word. And it is only through faith in Jesus, that we sinful human beings could ever approach and address the Holy and Almighty God, for faith receives the righteous perfection that Christ won for us. To pray in the Spirit means to trust what God says to us in his Word, including his promises on concerning prayer. And he promises to always hear and answer our prayers because he cares for us. It may not seem to us as if God cares about our prayers, it may not seem to us that he always hears and answers our prayers—probably because we often don’t receive the answer we want to our prayers. But ‘no’ is an answer—it may not be the answer we were looking for, but however the Lord answers our prayers we know that it is for our eternal well-being, for the Lord will never answer our prayers in a way that will harm us (Luke 11:9-13). So whatever answer we receive to our prayers, in faith we trust that the Lord will always do what is best for us and our spiritual lives.
One more point to consider today (we could make many more): We are to pray for “all the saints.” Yes, we are told elsewhere to pray for everyone and to pray for the governmental authorities (2 Timothy 2:1-2), but here the command is to pray for our fellow believers. As they too face attack after attack from the devil and his evil angels, we pray that the Lord would be with them and guard and defend them against all evil. That, with the Lord’s help, they may fight off his temptations and attacks on our faith, until the Lord calls us home to his heavenly side forever.
— Pastor Frey
Women of Faith and LWMS
Because of yesterday’s snowstorm, Woman of Faith was postponed this week. We will now join together for Bible Study and LWMS updates on Tuesday February 19 at 1:00pm. We pray that many of the women at St. John will be able to join us.
Also on next Tuesday will be our Men’s Bible study—starting at 9:00am. Again, we pray that many of the men of St. John will be able to join us. Both groups will continue looking at “This We Believe,” this official doctrinal statements of the WELS.
On Sunday mornings, Pastor Frey is leading a study on the first 11 chapters of Genesis—an important and interesting portion of Scripture. Last week we finished chapter one, discussing divine creation, the false theory of evolution, the doctrine of the Trinity, the Image of God, and much more. Join us this week as discussion chapter 2 and look at the creation of mankind, marriage/divorce, and the roles of men and woman.
This coming Monday and Tuesday Pastor Gartner will lead a new study, entitled, "What Must I Do To Be Saved -- A Study of God's Gospel and the Words The Holy Spirit Uses To Proclaim It." We will be looking at the many beautiful words that God uses in the Bible to describe God's plan to save us. Please plan on joining us for these studies.
On Sunday, February 17th at 2:00pm NBC 26 Chief Meteorologist Cameron Moreland will join us at our Pioneer meeting to discuss severe weather and weather safety. Because Mr. Moreland is volunteering his time to come and talk to us we would like to have a substantial group present. Therefore we are inviting any interested members of the congregation to join us for this event. If you have any questions, please contact Chad Miller.
We will also be making pop bottle tornadoes. We are still looking for about 15 more 2-liter bottles for this event. Please place washed bottles in the box near Pastor Gartner's office. Contact Sarah Ziesemer with any questions.