UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

March 2005 Monthly Letter

Dear Partner in UpBuilding others,

Happy Celebration of the Resurrection of the Messiah!

Jesus' death and resurrection allow old ways to pass away and new ways to begin!

I was asked to address a gathering of men from around the Sarasota area. A Bishop from an Episcopalian diocese had invited seventy men from various denominations to form a select discipleship group that would be trained to disciple 2000 men for evangelism in 2005.

In my preparation time, I was led to focus on Luke 11:1: "Now it came to pass, as Jesus was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray..."

I had instructed the organizer of this meeting to request that each man bring a recent photo of his family to be used during the teaching session.

One of my desires was to teach men a new way to pray, especially for their own family members.

After teaching various points on effective prayer, long slender candles ("tapers" to Episcopalians) were given to each man. I proceeded to instruct how these would be used during an actual time of prayer in the sanctuary.

Each man entered the sanctuary, lit his taper, found a pew, lowered the kneeler, knelt with taper in one hand, photo of his family in the other, and prayed for each family individually with eyes opened and with the flame of the taper over each of the faces.

After about 20 minutes each of the men drifted back into the fellowship hall for some refreshments and closing comments.

I asked the men to express what this "new way" of praying meant to them. . Richard, a respected seasoned-with-age Rector (or pastor) who was about to retire, rose to his feet and stated:

"Young man, (to which I responded, "Thank you for the compliment!") there are two things I would comment upon. First, you are a Presbyterian, a Protestant. You come from a tradition of being anti-Roman Catholic, which uses tapers consistently with prayers. Yet tonight I find it interesting that you have chosen to lead us to use tapers as a means of praying for our families!

Secondly, I have been a Rector for more years then I care to admit. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and four lovely daughters. Daily I seek to remember them in prayer. But when do, I confess I pray for them collectively, not individually as I did tonight. I am indebted to you for having given me the most meaningful time of prayer for them that I can recall. God has used you a Protestant to teach me an Anglican a new way to pray. How about that!

It only goes to show that an old dog can learn new tricks! Thank you! I shall not forget tonight!

Richard's testimony impacted the other men. One by one they, too, revealed how meaningful the time of individualized and personalized prayer with the taper had been. I closed by challenging each man to take his taper home and practice this form of prayer for the next 30 days and to see what specific blessings it would bring to them and to each of their prayed-for family members!

The power isn't in tapers but in Jesus. O Resurrected Lord, teach us to pray in new ways!

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