"Man is in search of God." These are the first words found in the Catholic Catechism section on Christian prayer. If you're Catholic and you've never read our Catechism: shame on you. If you're a non-Catholic Christian and you want to learn about prayer, this is a wonderful place to start. It's beautifully-written, easy to understand, and draws on more than 5,000 years of faith history about our relationship with God. What could be more important to us than learning how to begin or how to deepen our relationship with the Lord?
Prayer isn't so much an activity as it is a way of being. We shouldn't limit ourselves to thinking of prayer as something we do, but we should imagine prayer as the way we are with Christ. Prayer is our disposition to be in the presence of God and even more, to know Him. It's opening our hearts to His presence. The Catechism tells us that prayer is "a vital and personal relationship with the true and living God...the living relationship of the children of God with their Father"(paragraphs 2558 and 2565). It's important to remember that God is always faithful to us and is always reaching out to us in love. "God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer"(2567). God indeed chases after us and when we take the first step of prayer, it's our response to His faithful love for us. So when we pray, we are always the one responding to the relationship, not the one initiating it. In the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, the Lord searches for them, calling out to His beloved, disobedient children, "Where are you?....What is it that you have done?(Genesis 3:9, 13). This is exactly how the Lord call to each one of us today, as well. Of course, He already knows where we are and what we've done---just as He knew everything about Adam and Eve. But in His searching and calling, God reveals His heart to us. He is the Good Shepherd Who searches for every one of His sheep and stops at nothing to save us. He wants us to call out to Him, just as Samuel did when the Lord called him to be His prophet (I Samuel 3:10). Our response, like Samuel's, is to listen to that call, that tug of our heart towards the voice of God. So while we began with the statement that man is in search of God, prayer is our response to the call of our already-searching-for-us God. Prayer is the realization that we are already found, already loved, in the heart of the living God. The relationship we yearn to have with the Creator is there for our asking. Prayer is our response to God's loving call, "Where are you? What is it that you have done?"
The Catechism reveals God's teachings about prayer through the lives of His people. The stories of Abraham, Moses, David and Elijah show each man's response to God's call into relationship through their openness and obedience. Their faithfulness allowed God's plan of redemption to unfold in His people in the person of Jesus Christ. Salvation came into the world through prayerful relationships with God. These men can teach us how to pray. In the beauty of the Psalms, prayer is elevated to its highest forms of adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, adoration, and praise: the five basic forms of prayer. In the fullness of time, the coming of Christ reveals the great drama of prayer in the "Word Who became flesh and made His dwelling among us"(John 1:14). Jesus learned to pray "according to His human heart"(2599) at the feet of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. Among His family and community, He prayed at the synagogue in Nazareth and the Temple in Jerusalem. Prayer is the very posture of His public ministry, from beginning to the last words spoken from the Cross. Jesus is the prayer of the Church, as She is led by the Holy Spirit to nourish His family. "There is no other way of Christian prayer than Christ"(2664). For these 175 pages of the Catechism on the subject of prayer, we can learn how to pray as Christ prayed. The final pages are devoted to an exposition of the "Our Father," the most fundamental of Christian prayers. It is "the summary of the whole Gospel"(2761) and "the most perfect of prayers"(St. Thomas Aquinas). The Catechism is precious gift of our Catholic faith and a jewel in the legacy of of the pontificate of Blessed John Paul. If you want to know how to pray, it's a wonderful guidebook and resource. It's a reference text written like beautiful poetry and sings praise to God on every page.
"[This Catechism] is offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation" (Ephesians 3:8)---Pope John Paul II
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Shannon Smith, Pathway Baptist Church
We started our service off with baptism as Bro. Mark baptized six people to the glory of God. Will you join us in praying for these new converts that we will disciple them and live a Godly example before them. The choir sang “It Is Well”, and “His Cross” and others as the altars began to fill up. Bro Mark sang “Thank God for Grace”.
Bro. Mark continued his series on “Seeking His Face in Revival” in 2 Chronicles 7:14 his points were 1.) Revival brings a casting 2.) Revival brings a claiming 3.) Revival brings a calling. Many responded in the invitation to Gods call.
Our Sunday evening service was very special as our son Josh Smith preached his first sermon. Mark and I want to personally thank each one in our church family and all the visitors for your support for Josh, It was truly overwhelming.
Josh preached from Luke 4: 1-13 on “The Temptation of Jesus” his points were 1.) The Spirit led Him 2.) The Son hungered 3.) Satan challenged Him 4.) The Savior answered him 5.) Satan left him. He did a great job and we are all very proud of him, just pray that God will use him for His Glory!
We would love to invite you to pathway Baptist church if you don’t have a church home. God is really at work and souls are being saved, now isn’t that what it is all about? Our times of worship are Sunday school 10: 00am worship service at 11: 00am Sunday evening at 6:00pm and Wednesday 7:00pm.
We had some wonderful news about Valerie Mullins this week to put it in her words Gods healing power is at work in her life to God be the glory. What a joy it is to serve God and watch Him touch lives right on time because He is an on time God!
Continue to pray for the ladies going on the retreat May 4th-5th. Pray for their safety and pray that God will touch their lives in a special way and pray for spiritual growth. Let’s never lose sight of why we were left here on this earth. That is to witness and tell other’s of Christ love for them and lead them to the feet of Jesus.
My thought for the day is this you have tried it your way, now why not try Jesus!
Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
The cooler weather over the weekend felt like anything but spring but it will be hot again in a few days, I’m sure. Rev. Lee Griggs preached in both services on Sunday. We enjoyed having him with us and appreciate the messages he brought. He is the former pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Chickamauga.
We were glad to see Raley and Sandra Gillian from Peachtree City, Georgia and Ernie and Susan Pierce with Marie Massengill on Sunday morning.
It was good to have Rev. Mike Teague and family with us on Sunday morning. He has just completed serving as pastor over in McLemore Cove for the last 16 years.
Jack Leigh is now in NHC for rehab and Charlie Bates has been moved to Hutcheson Rehab. They both still need our prayers. We miss both of them in church – they are so faithful in attendance and supporting the church.
Others on our prayer list are Tania Neal, Mary Eslinger, Holly Stockburger, Rev. Wayne Hamrick, Sherry Barbee, Brenda Callahan, Pat Bates, Janice Watkins, Stan McDowell, Fae Ensley and Jeanette Fleming. We were glad to learn that Brenda Bridges Parson came through her heart surgery fine.
Our 5th Sunday sing will be Sunday night, April 29. De Anna Withrow will be singing for us. Everyone is invited to attend. The April birthdays will be celebrated in the fellowship hall after the evening service.
Rev. Danny Henson and New Liberty Baptist Church are hosting a Symphony of Prayer on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. This is a time to pray for our churches in our community and ask God to send revival to the North Georgia area. Everyone is encouraged to attend and join together in prayer for our area churches. We have several churches in our area who are without a pastor and they especially need prayer as they seek God’s man to lead them. We pray for all the pastor search committees that they will seek God’s will.
The National Day of Prayer will be observed at the Ringgold Depot on May 1 from 12 to 1 p.m. There will be special music in addition to the speakers. We need to pray for our city, county, state and country and the leaders of each, our churches and pastors, our families, friends and neighbors.
Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lamar and Kay Shipley and family in the death of his mother, Sarah Shipley, on April 21. She was a long time member of Burning Bush Baptist Church. Sympathy to Terry and Lisa Trew and family in the death of their son, Nathan, last week.
There are several events planned to commemorate the anniversary of the April 27, 2011 tornados that devastated our area. One is planned for April 27 at the Ringgold High School gym at 7:00 p.m. There will be free food on the parking lot at 6:00 p.m. Bill Hullender is holding a commemorative service at his farm on Friday evening and a community event on Saturday at the farm. There will also be a benefit singing at the Ringgold Depot on April 27 featuring the Jeff Hullender family, Gene Lowery and Pipeline Quartet and Ken Hicks and Testimony Quartet. They have some things planned to commemorate the events of one year ago also. In addition, a love offering will be taken to aid cancer patient Kim Owens and her family with Modern Woodmen matching up to $2,500. These events will remember those who lost their lives but also celebrate the recovery that has taken place and is still taking place in our community and give God the glory for all he has done for us.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
Bro. Stringer reported a good day Sunday. I didn’t make it all day. I did go to the singing Saturday night at Welcome Hill at 6 p.m. and then back to my church, our singing was at 7:30 with the Looper Trio and they were such a blessing.
The Right Path singers were at Welcome Hill and they had a real good service.
Happy belated birthday wishes to Tiffany Poteet on April 11th. Also, happy birthday wishes to my sister, Mildred Bramlette on April 26th.
Our sympathy goes out to the family of Claude Duckett who passed away last week in a freak accident on a backhoe. Bro. Marty Bells grandmother passed away also but I didn’t get her name.
It seems there is so much sickness and death invading our ranks every day.
Norma Headrick is back in Memorial Hospital. Pray for her family too. Francis Kraus is very sick at this time.
Paul Cranmore had an accident on a lawn mower last week in a ditch and ended up getting snake bit. He went to the doctor and got a shot and seems to be doing okay now.
Pray for Winnie Parson, she has really been sick with her treatments lately. She has really been through a lot.
Our boys are doing some better. It’s like one day they feel good and the next day down again. Eddie is waiting tohave gall bladder surgery.
Everyone is waiting for Bro. Larry Keaton to be able to preach again. He is still weak from his heart surgery.
Don’t forget those in the nursing homes.
Our revival is in progress this week with Bro. Franklin Hunt from Ohio.
Pray for Katrina and Randy Swaggerty, they have both been sick and he had been in the hospital last week.
Pray for Eddie Dills, he is bedfast at home and I’m sure he gets lonely and would to see his friends and talk to them.
Our ladies will have our tea on May 5th at 4 o’clock. Everyone is invited.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Thank the Lord for another good day on Sunday. Bro. David preached in both services. We were glad to have our visitors back with us. Hope they received a blessing and will come again soon.
There is a sign up sheet up front to sign up to help in Vacation Bible School. There are other jobs that need to be done so you don't have to be teacher to be needed.This will be July 16-20.
Dianne Hullender had her first treatment last Tuesday and she did really well and didn't get sick. We are all so thankful for this. She wasn't feeling well on Sunday but, was able to be in church and is very thankful for that. Continue to pray for her.
There was a mix up in the schedule for Ann Touchstone's son-in-law, James Smith's surgery so it will be this week. He has cancer. Pray for this family.
I forgot to report on Emma Treadway's surgery last week. She came through the surgery and is doing as well as can be expected at this time. Hope her back will be better now and she won't be in so much pain. Knowing Emma she will be back at work at Richard's as soon as possible.
Wanda Hill will be having knee surgery soon. Pray for her.
We were sorry to hear of the death of Arthur Longwith on Sunday and send our condolences to this family. Dorothy is not well and really needs our prayers. His funeral will be Wednesday,at 2 PM. Also we send condolences to the Trew family in the death of their loved one, Nathan.
Our cemetery is looking really good. Ken Pitts and his crew does a great job keeping it looking good. It would be great if the ones of us that have family members buried there could give him something for the upkeep of it, I'm sure it would be appreciated.
This Friday evening there will be a Benefit Singing at the Depot in Ringgold to help with the medical treatment of Kim Owens. If you can attend and give a donation for this it will be for a good cause and I'm sure you will enjoy the singing.
Don't forget on May 6th, after the evening service, there will be a graduation banquet for Heather Flood who will graduate on May 25th with high honors from high school. Heather will go on to school to be a teacher and she will be a good one. She is great with the kids.
Others on our prayer list are: Ellie Pitts, Lula Petty, Louise Clark, Thurman and Norma Headrick, Elsie Disheroon, Leon and Emma Lou Brown, Bernice Orr, Jimmy and Joyce Blassingame, Edna Allen, Benny Wilson, Polly Wells, Holly Stockburger,our Military and our Missionaries.
Happy Birthday Wishes go to Maudie Cawood, April 28. Mary Carnes and Joyce Blassingame,May 1. Bro. Tommy Tillman, one of our missionaries, May 2.