Pray Without Ceasing
How do you understand Paul’s words to “pray without ceasing”? Are you frustrated by the words? Did you choose to water down the meaning: “Paul doesn’t mean ‘without ceasing’ literally – he means that we should pray ‘a lot’!?
Perhaps a western worldview crept into the Bible and you have assumed sole responsibility for this word from Paul to pray without ceasing. I suggest that the privatized, individualized form of spirituality that we live in Canada, has made this verse hard to understand and impossible to live. Take a moment and read 1 Thessalonians 5.
To whom is this chapter addressed? “Brothers” (by the way, when you read that word, do you assume that Paul is only addressing men? Of course not! One of the reasons we land on an egalitarian view between men and women, is our consistent hermeneutic. The Bible is written in the same way that all other documents were written 50 years ago and before: mankind, men, he, brothers. Gender neutral was male. “Husband of but one wife” filtered through this consistent way of seeing Scripture, is not Paul saying that elders must only be men!). Paul is saying ‘brothers and sisters, you (plural) must do these things.’
Praying without ceasing is a community effort and opportunity. Together, as brothers and sisters around the world, we are to be in prayer, and together we can be a Church that prays without ceasing. The beautiful thing is that my prayer time alone this morning contributed to the effort. Our national prayer time last Wednesday contributed to the ongoing responsibility and privilege we the Church have to pray.
But there’s more, the Holy Spirit is always interceding for us (Romans 8:27). The Trinity is in constant communion with Himself, and we are invited into this oneness (John 17). Not that we become god, but that we can participate in His Oneness. Our working definition of prayer should include us ‘entering’ (Hebrews 4:16) God’s presence, into His communion where the Holy Spirit is interceding. Holy Spirit is already praying without ceasing, and you can, in prayer, join Him.
Prayer without ceasing is the awesome responsibility and privilege of contributing to the universal Church’s prayers, AND it is joining the Holy Spirit in His ongoing intercession.
This Cliff’s Notes is meant to inspire us to more fully engage in prayer. I believe that the kind of Church that Canada needs is a praying one: fully participating in the Church universal, and praying in the Spirit. The kind of Church that Canada needs is a Church that prays without ceasing.
WHAT’S NEW THIS WEEK
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
Tuesdays: Cliff’s Notes
2nd Tuesday of each month: What’s Got You Thinking?
3rd Wednesday of each month: Get the Scoop with Lisa and Alison
4th Thursday of each month: Church Health Thursday
Message from Bishop Cliff: https://vimeo.com/
Coffee with Jared: https://vimeo.com/
Mystery Beverage with Marc: https://vimeo.com/
Wilder Boutin – date and time TBA – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC
Leonard Bruce – date, time and location TBA
Kathleen Casement – September 12, 2021 at 2:00 pm – Verona FMC, Verona, ON
Blake Found – date and time TBA – Uxbridge FMC, Uxbridge, ON
Jessica Isaak – date and time TBA – Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Tyler Lane – date and time TBA – Trulls Rd FMC, Courtice, ON
Erika Mills – July 25, 2021, time TBA – Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Benjamin Platz – Date and Time TBA – Next Church, Kingston, ON
Douglas Smith – August 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON
Alyson Lauber – Date and time TBA – Lakeview FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Nathaniel Prakash – Date and time TBA – Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://fmcic.ca/
Register online through the link above (Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course. Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
Lay Ministers tracking for credentialed ministry and those transferring ordination credentials into the FMCIC need to take the following two courses for full credit – and if possible, the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology.
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*
- Tyndale University: https://www.tyndale.ca/
- FMC-USA as a 7-week intensive online course with several start dates: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/
Ministerial Candidates tracking for Commissioned or Ordained Minister are required to take the following two courses for full credit. Those who are already commissioned or ordained are required to either audit these two courses for 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) each or take the two courses and complete the assignments for 3 CEUs each.
Culture and the Missional Church:
Date and location TBA*
Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course – Start Date TBA
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)
2021 APPLICATIONS https://fmcic.ca/
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
The Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) provides financial assistance to candidates who are studying to meet the educational requirements for credentialed ministry, or for members of conference pursuing continuing education.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the summer/or fall semesters of 2021. The 2021 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above. Please use the application forms marked “rev 2021.”
The Special Scholarships provide financial assistance to those who are members of a Free Methodist church pursuing post-secondary education to grow in their Christian faith, to those who are pursuing credentialed ministry, and to members of conference pursuing continuing education.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2021 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above. Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://fmcic.ca/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report Continuing Education Units (CEUs) acquired during each year. Check the link above for information on CEUs, the report form and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.
Note: For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences or the spring Regional Gatherings, add 6 hours of CEU credit for each event when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON
Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 416-240-7845 (deadline to apply in brackets)
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON (July 6)
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Davika in the Leadership Development Office [see above] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.
Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Campbellford FMC, Campbellford, ON (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Frankford Community Church, Frankford, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
Lakeview Free Methodist Church, Saskatoon, SK
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON (Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Rymal Road Free Methodist Church, Hamilton, ON
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams – Interim Pastor)
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON