God’s call, our prayer
When Jesus began his ministry, he announced the coming of God:
…the kingdom of God has come near. (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15)
God has come near.
The world is called and invited through Christ to turn to God, accepting God’s nearness as the way the world can be renewed, reborn, and recreated through the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor. 5:17-19)
The invitation is new every day. During this season of Lent, we are called to take up God’s invitation in prayer and fasting as a sign of our commitment and love for God.
Throughout the centuries, Christians have gathered for worship and asked God to be near. In a service of worship, this is known as the prayer of invocation: asking God to come and be present in which the worship of the people takes place. The church has asked God to come near, not only in worship but in the world – to establish peace and justice, heal the sick, and mend broken hearts.
In the Jewish and Christian tradition, being ‘near God’ is a way of expressing devotion, trust and faithfulness. In Psalm 73 it reads:
…for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
to tell of all your works. (Ps 73:28)
The apostle Paul expressed this ancient Christian prayer in its simplest form when he exclaims, ‘Maranatha,’ which means ‘Our Lord, come!’ (1 Cor. 16:22)
And Jesus taught us to pray:
Your kingdom come… on earth as in heaven. (Matt. 6:10)
When we ask God to come near, or pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth, we are asking for our hearts and lives to be shaped and transformed by the Spirit, so that we align with the heart and mind of God.
This Lent as we respond to God’s call to ‘draw near,’ may our prayer be that our hearts would be God’s home. And more than this: that Southside Uniting Church, our congregation, would be God’s church – empowered by the Spirit, following Jesus, participating in God’s mission: transforming lives.
To ‘draw near’ let’s seek God in prayer.
Spiritual Growth covers key elements of the life of the Christian Church, including discipleship, bible studies, developing spiritual leaders and identifying people who have a calling on their lives for future ministry and mission engagement. As One Congregation in multiple locations, Southside seeks to build our unified identity through our spiritual commitment, by developing ourselves to discipleship we can find out more about our identity in Christ and as members of this unique community in the life of our church.
To find out more about Spiritual Growth in Southside Uniting Church or to express your interest in joining a Small Group, please contact the church office.