40 Days of Increase | Day 16
—by Pastor Don Weeks, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
The longest tongue in Columbus
That’s the reputation I had gotten from my first grade teacher, Sister Ruth. My parents were Roman Catholic, and I attended a Catholic elementary school near Columbus, Ohio. My first grade teacher was fully engaged when she taught us, and I believe she really loved all of us little first graders. She wore the classic headdress of a nun; a large black veil with a white cap that showed underneath and ran across her forehead. I got in trouble a lot for talking to my best friend. Sister Ruth once remarked on my report card in the comments section, that I had the longest tongue in Columbus because I talked so much.
He who sings to God prays twice
Sister Ruth taught us a lot of things, both by her actions and her words. As students, we feared her, were amazed by her, and loved her. She would lead us in prayer in the morning, watch us like a hawk during bathroom and water breaks when we would line up in the echoey hall and try to keep all us boys and girls quiet. Once she had hushed us and ushered us back to our classroom she would get all excited about music time.
She loved to sing. Think of Maria from the sound of music with all of her first grade class sitting like little angels on a grassy hillside in the Swiss Alps. Except for me. I would be talking. Sister Ruth would probably say I had the longest tongue in Switzerland. But I know what else she would say, because she said it to me all the time. He who sings to God prays twice. What an awesome teacher she was! I say that because all these years later I remember what she taught us. And even though my life has taken some surprising turns, I have used that teaching she has given me. Let me be clear, I fully reject Roman Catholic doctrine about salvation and many other things, yet I fully embrace Sister Ruth’s saying about singing to God! Sister Ruth, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU for that nugget of pure gold.
If he or she who sings to God prays twice, I wonder how many times a person prays when they write out their praises in their notebook. I wonder how many times a person prays when they praise God from the depths of their very being.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Your daily practical task
Pray! Then, consider this prompt, and create your praise: Your Prayer LIfe. I hope it was abundantly clear that our praise is our prayer. He who prays sings twice. God it?
And now, I will begin my praise to God with this idea of Christ increasing in our prayer life. If I could stand on a mountain top and shout this praise to God for the whole world to hear, I would do it unashamedly.
Hey world! Pray to God without ceasing!
Hey world! Praise Christ without ceasing!
Hey world! Sing praises to the Lord Jesus Christ without ceasing!
Hey world! Pray because you need Christ!
Hey believers! Praise Christ because you love Christ!
Hey backslider! Shake off your fear, doubt and lukewarmness and sing praises to Your worthy Savior!
O God, forgive me for not praying, praising and singing to you always.
I realize, O Lord, that my praise to you is prayer.
My song to you is prayer.
I praise you for this trinity of communication.
I thank you that you receive all prayer, all praise and all song in Jesus’ name.
I thank you, Jesus, for opening these lines of communication through enemy territory; through your blood, through your sacrifice, and through your cross.
Lord, my prayer is that I will never neglect speaking to You.
Lord, my prayer is that I will never neglect praising You.
Lord, my prayer is that I will always desire to sing praises out loud to Your holy name!
Jesus, your Apostles requested that you teach them to pray.
Jesus, I, your humble servant, request that you teach me to praise.
Lord, teach us to sing praises to Your holy name forever and ever! Amen!
Alright, there’s my public praise to Christ today. I hope God thinks I have the longest tongue in Milton, West Virginia, because I want to be found guilty of praising Him without ceasing. I challenge you to somehow, publicly, praise Your Savior today.
HE MUST INCREASE
He Must Increase, Antioch’s theme for 2017, taken from John 3:30. The devotions explore this theme and how Jesus must increase in our lives, other’s lives, and in the homes, churches and nations of the entire world.
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