On Tuesday, April 12, the Circle of Friends held their monthly meeting at the church. The meeting started at 11:00 in the Fellowship Hall with some 19 members honoring the memory of Robbie Vaccaro, a beloved member of the circle, who died on Saturday, March 26, 2016. Each lady said something special about Robbie as they look back on some happy moments they shared with her. Some of Robbie’s most memorable qualities were the work she did on her and John’s farm, raising butterflies, caring for others, being the ultimate friend or absolute role model, dutifully reminding members to attend meetings, making delicious cakes and desserts, graciously hosting hospitality diners and, of course, aging gracefully.
Pastor Scott Sherrill gave an interesting and informative talk on “Prayer”, an issue that struck a chord with everyone. He took participants through the spectrum of types of prayer, showing why, when, where, what and how to pray. He spoke on the history of Christian prayer including the Wesley Covenant Prayer adapted by John Wesley, which is used in Methodist services for renewing our covenant with God. He examined what happens to us when we pray, and what it means to have prayers answered or unanswered.
Seven things every Christian should know about prayer:
- Types of prayer? Not necessarily a long or elaborate prayer. There are prayers of praise, thanksgiving, supplication, lamentation, intercession, etc. God just wants to hear from us. However, we should not beat ourselves up if we do not know how to pray.
- Why pray? Prayer makes us aware of how we need to connect with God and relate with others. Prayer also makes us aware of things God wants us to do.
- When to pray? There is no wrong time to pray. We can pray first thing in the morning, in the shower, at the gym, in traffic, when we sit down to eat, driving so as to be safe, during a presentation or at the moment of celebration.
- Where to pray? Pray in a place that is best for us, that connects us to God. It can be in the bedroom, in the car, in the office, outdoors, on vacation, at home where if we wish, we can create a sacred place to meet with God and help us draw closer to Him.
- How to pray? There are many ways to pray and there is no strict rule. Pray like a child saying what’s on their mind. Pray as an individual or as a group. Pray with so much joy using the whole body or with hands up in the air. We can also connect with God through meditative prayer, breathe in and breathe out prayer, or by meditation when outdoors in nature. Putting our prayer in writing and talking in tongues are other forms of prayer as recorded inActs 2:17.
- What to pray? The words we use reflect the categories of things to pray for such as the objects and events in our life that we are thankful for. Also, the recognition that God is a good God who loves His children as well as praise and adoration of a majestic and powerful God. Supplication prayer is bringing our needs to God. This helps us to understand what is important in our life but does not necessarily mean that we will get what we ask for. It is also good to pray for someone else, as with the prayer of intercession in the church. Being sorry is giving us an opportunity to change our ways while prayers of lament give voice to our pain and misery as we pour out our heart to God. The Book of Psalms is full of prayers of lament if only we take the time to read them.
- Who are we praying to? It is more about listening to God than about our own services. It’s about God talking back to us through the things we pray about. God also speaks to us when we read the Scriptures.The Psalms can be a huge resource of prayers. Some people hear God’s message for them through dreams and visions. Lectio Divina is a way of praying the scriptures to communicate with God, a practice common in the game of football. We read the scripture slowly, letting the words wash over us, meditate and then pray.
It was a very special day for Scott. Not only was he an inspirational speaker at the Circle of Friends meeting but his lovely wife Deb celebrated her birthday that same day and together they had lunch with the ladies. A dessert of carrot cake was provided by Karen, who unfortunately could not make it to the meeting.
All church women are invited to join the Circle of Friends at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at Louise Apperson’s house for their annual picnic. For more information, please contact the church office at 609-924-2613 or visit www.princetonumc.org
Written by Isabella Dougan