In the photo above you see numerous churches in the little town of Eastman GA preparing for and focusing on prayer. I love seeing this!
I had the opportunity to give the message at the Lovely Grove Homecoming service yesterday (July 23, 2017) in Eastman GA.
The accompanying musicians were the Dixie Rhythm Boys and were abosultely wonderful!
I would like to share with you some of my message. I tried to live-stream it but I didn’t have enough of a signal to do so.
Of course being a homecoming message I found some interesting facts about Lovely Grove. Some of these facts had to do with their cemetery, like erroneous dates of death, as well as people “born in the cemetery” which has all kinds of implications.
But what fascinated me the most was their Cottage Prayer Meetings. After the service an older woman told me that she remembers as a little girl coming to the Cottage Prayer Meetings in her grandmother’s buggy.
And so, my message was a constant reminder to the congregation of what these men and women at the Cottage Prayer Meetings would have prayed. While I had already planned to do this, the need to emphasize this was all the more made clear when, before I spoke, the pastor asked for prayer requests, and of course, 100% of the prayer requests were what I call, “organ-recitals” because all they wanted to do was to pray for this person’s organ and that person’s organ, etc.
With some trepidation I shared with them quotes from famous people already in heaven, whom the founders of Lovely Grove Baptist would already know, I quoted the following:
R A Torrey
Unless our focus is on Him, our prayers are not unto Him
How many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell
John Wesley Diary
God had cast us in his way, in answer to prayer.
We will be in heaven 5 minutes and wished we’d have lived and prayed differently
Praise the Lord that no one threw me out, and they didn’t dis-invite me to homecoming lunch and so I went on and finished with a most humble man, one I am looking forward to meeting when I get to heaven, “Blind Bartimaeus.”
Mark 10:46-52 (HCSB)
46 They came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!” 48 Many people told him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; He’s calling for you.” 50 He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
51 Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”“Rabbouni,” the blind man told Him, “I want to see!”
52 “Go your way,” Jesus told him. “Your faith has healed you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Him on the road.
I then had 4 simple points:
- Notice first of all that Bartimaeus was not dissuaded by those in the crowd who didn’t want him to reach out to Jesus. Verse 48 tells us that after many people told him to be quiet, “…he cried out all the more…” Probably all the louder! Let me ask you a question friend, “Why do you let others dissuade you from the presence of Almighty God? That’s just coo-coo!”
- And then notice that when Jesus called for Bartimaeus to be brought to Him, Bartimaeus, in verse 50, “threw off his cloak, jumped up, and went to Jesus.” How do you think he “went to Jesus?” He probably RAN to Jesus. Can’t you just see Bartimaeus, BLIND-Bartimaeus, running to the sound of where Jesus was at, tripping all over people on his way. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited and smiling for Bartimaeus! Tell me, when you are in your prayer closet, do you, in your heart, RUN to Jesus…or is it just, not that big of a deal?
- Now this next verse (verse 51) is where Jesus then asks him, “What do you want?” I hear a lot of people praying today, and I could just hear them responding to Jesus, “What do You mean, ‘What do I want?’ It should be obvious Jesus! I want my sight!” I hear a lot of people today praying for, “my will to be done, here on earth, just as it should be in Heaven.” When of course the passage in the Lord’s prayer really says, “Thy will be done, on earth as it ALREADY is in Heaven.” And that is what makes Bartimaeus so special. I can see him bowing his head before Jesus, and then submissively, HUMBLY saying, “Rabi, I would like my sight.” I look forward to meeting this humble man.
- And then look at the end of verse 52. It says that this formerly blind man, immediately began to follow Jesus. . . It is as if he just, full out, without regard to anything in his past, just started living for God, Amen!
I then reminded the congregation, as I had numerous times during the message what Cottage Prayer Meetings were all about, namely, to gather like-minded people who share a common burden.
I told them of my friend Bill, who went to heaven before any of us on our prayer conference call had a chance to meet him. And I told the congregation that we periodically pray about Bill’s prayers thus, “Oh Lord, re-hear Bill’s prayers afresh, for his family, his church, his pastor and his friends.”
“And I believe,” I went on, “that God rehears your ancestors prayers afresh. Will he rehear yours?”
It was a solemn message, but I think a necessary one.