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My Prayer Retreat

Dear Friends, 

I have a case of laryngitis, and have been ordered not to speak for 9 more days. I will miss you Sunday, and cannot wait to be back. 

The elders gave me a prayer retreat last weekend, and I want to tell you about it. To put it succinctly, it was amazing. I arrived in Broken Bow Sunday afternoon, settled in and then went for a walk by the lake. Once I felt like my soul was “prepared” to begin seriously praying, it struck me: I think I have to earn God’s presence by being sorry, sad and somber. I feel like I don’t deserve God’s presence and have no right to expect it. Once I start praying, I forget everything I preach about the Gospel of grace.Then I felt God stirring me. “Do you think I am like that? Do you think I am disappointed in you? Do you think I am expecting you to be so sad over your failures that I give you a second chance? My son is your substitute. I love you. I am delighted in you.”

The next morning, during my prayer time, I began asking for the Holy Spirit. I don’t really know exactly what that means. But in Galatians, Paul says Christ died that we might have the spirit. So I started praying, Lord if there is anything missing in me, if I have done anything to run off the Spirit, if I am not experiencing Him in all his fullness, I want to. At that exact moment it started raining, just for a minute at most. But I could hear it on the tin roof of my cabin, and it reassured me that God heard my prayer.

The rest of the trip was spent in great joy, unlike anything I have experienced in years. It was the joy of being with my Father. We went hiking together, played golf together, and ate dinner together. Then he insisted we go out for dessert. God was with me, laughing, joking, and making fun of my terrible golf game.

Every time the old things came up, my failures, disappointments, short comings and sins, he would joyfully remind me: “My Son has taken care of that, he is your substitute. Relax and enjoy me.” 

So the message I bring to you this Easter is Joy. I want us to worship with joy, sing with joy, study with joy, pray with joy, and for a while, make decisions based on what brings joy. The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace . . . 

Where there is true Joy, there the Spirit is. 

Love you guys, Thank you for not begrudging me time to go and pray. 

Ricky 

Nehemiah 8:10 - Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Psalm 35:27 - Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!”

Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Galatians 3:13–14 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—[14] so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (ESV)