Sunday, October 30
Matthew 18:12-20 MSG
“Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.
“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”
I find myself better or worse as I pray more or less. It works with almost mathematical precision. We find, sooner or later, that in prayer we either abandon ourselves or we abandon prayer. Prayer will keep us from self-withholding or self-withholding will keep us from prayer. I find God fading out of my life to the degree that prayer fades out. The fading out of God-consciousness is the greatest tragedy and loss that this generation has sustained. Prayer will rediscover it.
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of Every Road.