Traditional Worship | 9:30 & 11:00 am | Sanctuary | Dr. Tim Bruster
DiscipleChurch | 7:20 am | Community Breakfast | Wesley Hall
8:30 am | Chapel | Rev. Lance Marshall
9:30 am | Discussion Groups
nine:thirty-nine | eleven:eleven celebration | 9:39 & 11:11 am | Wesley Hall
Rev. Tom McDermott
The Gathering | 9:30 am | Room 350 | Rev. Lance Marshall
Chapel Communion | 10:35 am | Chapel | Dr. Len Delony
Connections | 10:30 – 11:00 am & noon – 12:30 pm | Garden & Wesley Hall
“How Should I Pray”
Dr. Tim Bruster
Acts 2:42-47 & Matthew 6:5-14
Second in the series: “Healthy Plate Discipleship”
There are as many ways to pray as there are people. There is not any magic formula. What is effective for one isn’t for another.
Our Healthy Plate Discipleship focus this week is prayer. Disciples pray.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us one insight on how to pray, saying, “When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
I remember hearing these words of Jesus as a kid and being perplexed: “Go to your room (some translations say ‘closet’) and shut the door.” What about public prayer? What about praying outside? What does that mean, exactly? Was Jesus talking about a literal closet? Aside from warning his disciples about using prayer as a way of showing off, falling into hypocrisy, perhaps what Jesus was saying was more metaphorical: the room (or closet) is really entering into a different frame of mind, free of distractions. Perhaps what Jesus is calling his disciples to do is to be very intentional about focusing on connecting with God.
Jesus went on to say, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8)
When the Apostle Paul addresses prayer, he just says, “ . . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
I think it’s pretty clear that disciples find their own ways to pray — ways that allows us to find that inner stillness, time, and space that enables us to make a connection to God.
For me, sitting quietly in a room is tough. It seems strange to say it this way, but in moving, in walking, I find the stillness that I need. So, walking the labyrinth or taking a walk in the park is a good setting for me to pray because when I’m moving, prayer just comes more easily and feels more natural. That’s just the way I’m wired. But, for others, sitting quietly in a room is the very best way for them to pray. We are all different.
Prayer isn’t about saying the right words. Rather, it is about going into a place (literal or metaphorical) where we are putting ourselves intentionally in the presence of God and opening ourselves to God’s presence and leading. In my mind that is how we are able to express what is going on with us in our lives — even when our feelings may be inexpressible, what Paul calls “sighs too deep for words.”
Can we follow Jesus more faithfully in how we pray? Jesus went off to pray by himself all the time. He probably didn’t go into a closet — but he did go into the wilderness, into a boat, up a hill, and for a walk through a garden. The object, I think, in all of this was to be intentionally alone with God.
I look forward to talking with you more this Sunday about how we can be followers of Jesus and his example in prayer and praying.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster
Community of believers (Acts 2:42-47)
The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.
FUMCFW has an exciting new vision for the future of our church. Join us in all worship services
Sundays | October 9 – November 13
for a sermon series introducing Healthy Plate Discipleship. It’s good stuff for the whole family.
You will ABSOLUTELY want to be in attendance this coming Sunday in either the 9:30 or 11:00 am service in the Sanctuary for our second performance of the Singing Women of First Church. These fantastic, talented ladies come together for rehearsals and prepare two choral pieces along with other service music. Read more.
Last Sunday was absolutely perfect. The weather was beautiful, the Garden looked amazing (thank you, UMW!), and it was just so much fun to see everyone come together between services, visit with one another, and enjoy a cookie — or two! It was the consummate example of why I am so passionate that First Church is a place for people not only to worship, but also to feel connected with a community of worshippers. Read more.
I wanted to let you know that starting this Sunday we will not bring the children into the Sanctuary for the Children’s Moment.
Instead, we will have the Children’s Moment in the new gathering space in the Children’s Wing. Read more.
If you were at the 11:00 am traditional service this Sunday, you heard Dr. Bruster launch our church sermon series on Healthy Plate Discipleship. The first week was on an element of Healthy Plate uniquely close to the heart of our Youth Ministries: “Learn.” Read more.
Rev. Tom McDermott
It was almost 2:00 am, a chilly August night in the mountains of Prescott, Ark., and the five of us were lying on our backs on the cool tennis court above camp. This was an annual event for us — Woody, me, Tammy, Dontell, Jim, and Cat. The two camp musicians and some older campers and a counselor or two. Read more.
Kay Allen Nelson
Peggy Von Duynn
E. Wayne Mercer
GIFTS & MEMORIALS
First Street Methodist Mission in Memory of:
Bill Mizell by Judy & Ed Gant
Bill Mizell by Marilyn & Byron Baird
Jeffrey Dodd by Jo Ann Hicks Royer
General Memorial Fund in Memory of:
Chick Leach by Kay Watkins
Elaine Yamagata by Harriette & Arnold Gachman
United Methodist Committee on Relief in Honor of:
Lelah & John Mohrbacher’s 70th wedding anniversary by Judy L. Williams
Healthy Plate for Praying
Healthy Plate Discipleship, an exciting new vision for the future of our church, will use a variety of practices to help you more faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Try all six areas — worship, serve, give, learn, play, and pray — to grow strong in faithful discipleship. Read more.
Fore! Fall Golf Tournament Coming Your Way
Twenty years ago Mr. Ed Petrushka teed off at the legacy now known as the FUMCFW Golf Tournament. This fall we will continue this annual tradition with another great day of golf together. The tournament will be at the Split Rail Golf Course in Aledo, Texas — a beautiful course with a new clubhouse and country club atmosphere. Read more.
Thanks for Helping Make Homeownership a Reality
Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope — for a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat offers a hand up (not a hand out) to hardworking families who, due to skyrocketing home prices, might have only dreamed of home ownership otherwise. Read more.