Sermons
Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Power of Praise - March 11, 2018

Romans 8:26-27

There are a lot of times in our lives when we just can't find the words to pray. Most often, I've found it's when....we're scared to death. When we're scared to death as we wait for a medical diagnosis. Scared to death after a car accident. Scared to death when the doctor can't hear the baby's heartbeat. Scared to death when hospice tells us it's time to say our final goodbye. Scared to death when we can't pay the bills and more still keep coming. Scared to death when

we lose the house. Scared to death when our kids are out on their own. Scared to death when drugs and sex seem to be more powerful than morals and goodness. Scared to death when we can't reason with them any longer. Scared to death when we don't know how we'll do life without someone who died. Scared to death when we think our marriage won't make it. Scared to death after we've been attacked and we're not sure we could ever go outside and feel safe again. Scared to death when we don't know if God is even listening.

I don't know about for you, but for me, in those times in my life when life sucks the air out of my lungs....it seems to take the prayers from my lips with it....it feels like the world is closing in on me, and at the same time it's binding me up....like I can't reach out to God. And it feels like if only I could pray...if only I could say something, anything to God, maybe it wouldn't feel so awful, maybe something might change for the better....but there I am frozen, voiceless, raw, and scared to death.

In those moments...
I've collapsed.
I've cried.
I've wailed.
I've screamed.
I've stared into the void.

And almost every time, I've struggled to find the words to pray. I might be able to seek out "God I need you" but much more than that seems beyond my power, beyond my grasp.

And it doesn't just happen when life is happening to me...but when life is pounding the people I love and care about, or even when watching the news becomes too overwhelming....another natural disaster, another fire. another flood. another hurricane. Another shooting. Another life lost to cancer. More people killed because of the color of their skin. More people were beaten because of who they love. More people starving. More refugees washed up on shore as they flee the ravages of war. More threats of violence. More injustice. More....and more...and more....the hits just keep on coming and it gets hard to breathe, hard to pray, and hard to hope.

When it's one or two things I can pray, but then it's more and more and still more and I feel so impotent, so useless...what will my prayers change anyway....? How can I possibly consider myself helping if all I offer our prayers and not action or advocacy...?And then all of the sudden I realize I can't find the words to pray anymore...not the right ones anyway...not the ones that make me feel like if God just heard me that things might change.

And then this scripture steps in to remind me that while God wants and needs my prayers...God is so much on our side that God sends the Holy Spirit to help even our wails and groans and cries into prayers with passion and power. The message translation says it this way:

The moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. [The Spirit] does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

I don't know about for you, but that is good news to me. I'm one of those who truly believes in the power of prayer. I believe that God is for us and wants to do good things in our lives and that somehow with free will and our own independence, God has chosen to relinquish power over us...and somehow prayer gives that back. Prayer frees God to do something in our lives....otherwise it's us and our choices and our freedom. So I pray specifically. I pray often. I pray fervently. But then I butt up against those situations and things that leave me speechless....that leave me prayer-less and I wonder how God will act, how God will move in the midst of it all if I can't even eek out a prayer...not that God doesn't want to....but God needs the freedom, the invitation to step in....and here I know the Spirit can make sense of it all for me. I can lay there in a heap of tears and God hears that prayer...I can scream at the top of my lungs in frustration, and even if I can't make sense of what's happening, even if I have no idea how to pray or what to ask for....the Spirit gets it and steps in on my behalf....on your behalf, and on our behalf.
In the midst of being grateful for the Spirit's intervention, some of us are inclined to wonder why that's even necessary. Why does God need God to interpret for us if God sees and understands us? It's a good theological conundrum...God is Father, Son, and Holy, Spirit, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, right? And in trying to grasp the Trinity, we come to understand God in different ways based on which part of God we're talking about. God the Father, the Creator God, the 1st person of the Trinity part of God is mysterious and transcendent. God, the creator is the part of God that is beyond our knowing and comprehension. Jesus Christ, the Son, God incarnate, God made flesh is God revealed to us. Through Jesus, we come to know the character and nature of God, which makes us believe God is truly easy to reach. And the Spirit, the third person, the comforter and sustainer of life is the one who gives us constant connection and access to God in every day. The Spirit is our here and now touchpoint. And in many ways, God is God. But in other ways, each person of the Trinity gives us something different...and so we come to understand that to reach God the Creator, we need the Holy Spirit...the Sustainer.
It's complicated....a lot like the nature of God....but that nuance is only meant to help us understand a little about how we connect with God....the heart of what Paul wants us to know here is that God is available to us, working on our behalf, helping us when we're a heap of troubles and heartache and we can't help ourselves. Sometimes in the church people will say, "O I wish I could pray like you." The words of a prayer can hold of power, which then causes some of us to shirk away from it, unsure of ourselves and our words. But what we can know is that if all we have is "Ahhhhhhh!!!!" That's sufficient. And if all we can do is say the ABCs over and over again, that's enough. The Spirit can take our chaos and confusion and make it something beautiful that connects with the heart and will of God.
Not only are we not alone when we suffer....but we have an advocate....a comforter there beside us helping to clear the path toward hope. And for that, we give God great praise. Amen.

Current Church News

  • Trustees Fall Church Work Day - September 29, 2018

    All helping hand needed!

    Trustee work day is Saturday, September 29th from 8:30AM - Noon.

     
  • Piety Sunday! September 23rd

    Pie-ty Sunday will be Sunday, September 23rd. Over the last few years we have enjoyed celebrating the culinary and baking talents of our church for both sweet and savory pies. We sell pie by the slice and a few whole pies you can take home. We are hoping to add homemade ice cream to the menu. The money we raise this year will go to support our missioners and work in Puerto Rico.

Get Directions

Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...