On Sunday October 20th I led worship at Pannal Methodist Chapel. The theme of the service was keeping going in all circumstances. We began worship as we sang ‘Praise my soul, the King of heaven.’ I led the opening prayers of praise and thanksgiving and confession concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.
I then spoke with the children about whether they ask God for things, but they were not very forthcoming with answers. I suggested prayer was the best way of asking God for things and that if we asked for what we needed we would be given that, as the persistent widow finally got justice as she did not give up. However if we asked God for things we wanted but did not need we would not get those desires fulfilled. I used a true story of a man severely injured in a coal mine accident, who suffered pain for the rest of his life and was wheelchair bound despite praying for healing, but when he changed his prayer to asking for the strength to bear the pain, that was answered when Jesus bathed him in love and warmth and he found he could cope. He then he came to realise that Jesus was indeed alive and well and would never let him down and he became a regular visitor in schools sharing his love of his Lord.
A young lad, Toby, came out and introduced the children’s hymn, which was ‘Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning’ and he explained that they would be talking about sharing in their classes. I then read Genesis 32v22-31 which described Jacob’s struggle with his divine adversary. A member of the congregation read 2Timothy 3v14-4v5 where Paul urged Timothy to keep studying the scriptures. We then sang ‘Great is thy faithfulness,’ before 4 members of the congregation read a dramatised reading based on Luke18v1-8.
I then preached the sermon on the theme of never giving up. Jacob had felt God was telling him now was the time to return and meet Esau again; he put his family and all his possessions over the river first and stayed to wrestle with the divine adversary. He struggled and did not give up until even though he was injured he was blessed by God and was given the new name of Israel to reflect that changed nature.
The widow too did not give up until the corrupt judge whom she could not afford to bribe, finally gave in and gave her justice. If a corrupt judge can give justice, how much more would God give us what we need when we pray but not necessarily what we want? Timothy had been brought up from childhood by his family on the study of scripture and Paul encouraged him not to be diverted by other powerful speakers from the truth and to persevere in the faith growing closer to Jesus in spite of persecution, when Jesus had not yet returned.
After the sermon we sang ‘For the healing of the nations’ before the intercessions and the service concluded as we sang ‘Behold the servant of the Lord’.