Prayer Is Where Spiritual Growth Begins

Growth at New Beginnings UMC will come both numerically and spiritually. We are working evangelically to bring more people to Christ, but we are also working closely with the members we presently have to take them into a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Christ and His church. Christ is the true vine and we are the branches called to bear fruit. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5) so connectedness to Him is crucial.

Prayer is the key to staying connected with Christ. We have people praying daily for New Beginnings to grow stronger disciples so that together we can advance God’s Kingdom. Even those closest to Jesus, the twelve disciples, were unable to do what Jesus expected of them (and which they proved in Mark 6:13 that they were capable of doing) when they failed to pray (Mark 9:28-29). Jesus is quite clear that “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded (Luke 12:48)”. We, like the first disciples, possess no power to combat evil (or to do God’s bidding) apart from God. Prayer is how we stay connected with God.

After much prayer, we took up an offering for the United Methodist Children’s Home. It was an offering that can literally change our society’s method of dealing with children who are being told there is “no room”. Sounds like the beginning of a Bethlehem story, doesn’t it? New Beginnings poured our treasures and hearts into answering this cry for help. A total of $2104 was collected last Sunday for the UMC Children’s Home. Not bad for a church that rarely collects special offerings. Not bad for a church that has usually has only “two or three gathering in His name (Matthew 18:20)” on Wednesday evenings from 6-7pm. But it only takes two or three praying to have Christ here also…leading us to be different and to make a difference.

Jesus tells us plainly, “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32)”. Prayer allows us to face the harsh truths head-on and to know that the most mountainous problems are only a whisper away from being cast into the sea. It has become common to hear “Let go and Let God,” yet we refuse. We prefer to turn from Christ’s teachings and try to solve our problems on our own (and usually make a bigger mess of things). We must focus our minds on God’s ability to care for those things that trouble our hearts and minds. Go to God first in prayer, imitate Christ and pray His prayer, so we can “take hold of Christ’s teachings.” And then watch the transformation begin. And before we realize it, we hear the second part of the Scripture mentioned earlier. We hear Jesus declaring, “You really are one of my disciples!” Know the truth: Prayer changes things and it will set you free from the care and worries that we allow to torment us! Pray often and fervently so that you may grow spiritually into the worry-free disciple that Christ has called you to be.

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