Jacob’s well—-a place to go or a place to avoid? For Jesus, it was a place to go and ask for a cool drink after a tiring journey on foot. He was alone and saw a Samaritan woman with an empty cistern about to draw water. As the Son of Man, he would become thirsty like you and me and the circumstances brought a divine appointment for her to experience living water through his personal inquiry.
In his day, research shows that when a man asked a woman for a drink of water, it could imply much more than a simple and kind beverage service. But she was trying to avoid others in the noonday heat. She had enough past husbands, and I think that she most likely did not want to have another.
In contrast, I wonder if Jacob did indeed meet his beloved Rachel at this very well (Genesis 29:1-14)? The custom showed it was where you went to water your flock or socialize and find your future wife:
“The incipient symbolism of the romantic meeting at the well is easy to see: the arrival of the man from a distant land represents the “otherness” of the relationship, the drawing of the water establishes a bond…” says Enslinger in his “The Wooing of the Woman at the Well..”.
After an exchange of discovery, the Samaritan woman is the one who receives the tall cool drink of satisfaction from Jesus, the long awaited Messiah— salvation through becoming known to her Savior. This fulfillment comes from a deep well that sweetly quenches the thirst of any parched mouth. And despite culture and past, Jesus’ unconventional way lands him at Jacob’s well, a place the disciples had learned to stay clear of.
Jesus doesn’t avoid sinners, however. Quite the opposite. He proposes to them, bids them to come to him, the waiting bridegroom. He initiates conversation with you at the places he deems to do so, bringing joy and salvation to the one who receives Him.
The Samaritan woman didn’t know then, but later Jesus would thirst again, to the extent of not being quenched when He hung on the cross to fully take away her sin and yours (Psalm 69:19-21, John 19:28). Like her, you can worship in spirit and in truth and tell others what Jesus has done for you. So take a cool drink or plunge deeply into the fountain of living water with Him. He waits for you in hope that his Bride, the church, will never thirst again.
PRAY: Our consummate Jesus, we praise You for the fulfillment at Jacob’s well of the revelation of You, the Messiah Christ! You are the Bridegroom we sinners have longed for and need. We want to know You more and be known by You. Move us to not avoid people but instead to go to those who so desperately thirst. Amen
Cinda Marturano is a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Villanova University. She has completed 3 levels of biblical counseling training with the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation and holds an apologetics certificate from there as well. Since 2007, she has counseled those whom suffer with anxiety, depression, anger, as well as physical detriments. As the founder of Deep Waters Ministry, she manages grants given to discipleship, christian education, biblical counseling and caring projects locally and world-wide. Cinda receives each counselee as a unique creation. As we are created in the image of God and find redemption in Jesus alone, her methods bring a full picture of the Christian identity as it relates to the gospel. She counsels individuals, and not “labels” although medical professionals are of reference through out counseling for self-understanding. She has helped clients with methods of a prayerful and Christian perspective of the will of God in the work needed for continued growth in an individual; sanctification. Cinda charges on a sliding scale based on economic ability with a process of meeting twice before commitment is made on either end. You can meet in her home office in Malvern, PA or at your church or school, under the parent, pastor or principal’s knowledge of your care. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiry and availability processes.
When you counsel, advise and serve others, remember that it is God’s work through you. I am so thankful to my Lord Jesus for teaching me lessons of humility as it relates to being insulted and slandered while serving in the church. God certainly looks out for us when He calls us to love and serve others and I am grateful for the eye-opening experience of His call to servanthood for other’s sake, despite the pain. God gives us grace and wisdom when being sharpened in the cogs of the ministry wheel. I praise Him for teaching me what it means to travel from anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane “Lord, take this away”, to “but not as I will, but as you will”. May His sacrifice, not mine, be respected and glorified for all to see if he calls me to carry the cross. It’s about the gospel, not me.
After learning lessons of humility, the storm dies down and there is a peaceful confidence for me that no one can take away, a humble rejoicing. I didn’t want to go through an unusual indescribable situation but now I am nothing and I realize the joy in that. Prior to my big lesson of over 15 years ago, I thought it was up to me and my gifting, but now I realize that Jesus works undercover and our work may be unseen for others and His sake. It’s not about recognition, but His redemption through the gospel.
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…”. 2 Corinthians 3:4,5 ESV
“He must increase while I must decrease (John 3:30)” is learned in true humility. In counseling, this means to obey God and follow His will through the Word while voluntarily submitting to His direction in the truth of the Spirit. Other times this means over-extending ourselves, putting others first and not demanding justice when wronged. At first, when I learned this meekness, I was astonished with the constant humility and self-deprecation, as something odd were happening (1 Peter 4:12). But the blessing in a counseling session that involves being humble is a true joy because He is right along side me, and through me He allows me to bring Him forward and together we see Jesus in action for the counselee; a matter of the heart. That makes me rejoice and smile because it’s not about us, it’s about His life and His glory in the lives of those we counsel. When others try to make it “about us”, we need to remember that God is showing them humility by bringing us to our knees, together. (written January 29, 2011 at Westminster Theological Seminary, “Counseling in the Local Church” with Dr. Tim Lane.)
It was May of 2016 and I stepped out of the end of a pilates class with a great group of people. I thought about my balance from a year before when I had a mild TBI and needed 10 months of physical therapy from three different specialists, one for vestibular balance. It occurred to me how the class and prior trainings had given me the alignment of both sides of my body and I was at peace, physically speaking.
It’s great to know that one hour of exercise can give us what we need to have a form of homeostasis with our bodies—the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. My right and left foot were equally planted along with a developed core. Wholeness of our inner-selves relates, however, to have peace and unity with God and others in the faith (Ephesians 4:1-6). As we are strengthened and find balance, we strengthen others towards peace so that no other mortal word but “peace” brings such pleasure to us. Yet sometimes we have a disordered sense of peace, where our priorities are self-serving and out of wack with good intentions.
We struggle and cannot enjoy peace because of a distortion of crossing the line of natural order in a form of personal and selfish regulation only, it’s much more than putting these things on myself! In the book of Job, his final appeal to God includes questions of wonder, such as Where is God in this? “If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!) if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands, then let me sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me be rooted out.” Job 31:5-8 esv
Our spiritual selves, through the source of peace in Jesus—the Holy Spirit, is combined with our emotions and inner thoughts and also need to be in alignment with our Triune God. The balance we need in life includes a focus that is true north, keeping eyes forward and feet solidly planted. We can be stretched to the limits, and must persist and have perseverance to the end. We know how “the peace of all things is the tranquility of order. This lends to the peace of the body in the duly proportioned arrangements of its parts giving us our eternal law of the well-ordered and obedient life—-spiritual health in Christ. The peace of body and soul is the well-ordered harmonious life and health of the living and is both now and in the hearafter”, (a conclusive paraphrase I found in the premise of St. Augustine’s City of God, Book 19).
Pray: LORD God, give us your peace and health now as we live in the eternal light of Jesus Christ and the hope found only in Him. I confess I can be miserable when I see disordered lives and falsity playing out in the world and I am thrown off-balance. Straighten me out and show me Your way. LORD, when I turn into myself mistakenly and do not trust You, forgive me. Continue to help me serve YOU so I am aligned with your true and good principles, once again, and grant us your peace. Amen
I had an incident as a child that perhaps you also may have experienced in one form or another. I accidentally dropped an old-fashioned thermometer and the mercury beaded out on to the floor. Although warned not to touch, I vividly remember the wonder of watching the silvery pieces come back together as I nudged them with the pencil tip. Nothing was more exciting as I realized how they were meant to be together with full elemental unity.
There is an infinite momentum that keeps us alive and brings us together! As the Son of God is from the Father, through the catalyst, our Holy Spirit, they remain One, and we are one in them (John 17:11). And like the splintered mercury, Our Father God had to separate His son so we may be in the land of the living, rejoining with our God-head into eternity. We are also one in the resurrection.
B.B. Warfield said, “Christ is everything a man is for eternity.” We will reach our fullest potential in Him, but not yet. We cannot be separated from God as we are confirmed by the resurrection where death has no sting; death has died. The dead are raised! And another great, Geerhardus Vos, said that our faith comes from “He himself who perfectly encompasses and governs it“, showing us how we see that our very being belongs to God who oversees our lives. Trust in The Creator’s sovereign care through the Holy Spirit given to you.
Has your heart been proven true that you are never fully consumed but you are alive and awake in the living Christ? Our union with Christ is our daily mainstay, dear Christian. He is our very breath. And the unquenchable fire. How amazing our lives in Christ Jesus are as we participate in life with Him. Our union in Him is with a promise to blaze forever, as we are fed through His eternal source in the Word of God, and with others of the faith.
PRAY: Our Triune Lord, we praise and honor You alone as we know how we have life in you. Through You, we live and move and have our being (read Acts 17:24-28). We thank You how we are not “dead men walking”. God of the living, help us to live for you each day. Be our ongoing, organic photosynthesis, growing us in the light of your Being in the land of the living. Be our inextinguishable fire now. Show us how that works in our lives today. For your glory, Amen.
“Is it Lawful to Heal on the Sabbath?” A Devotion from Luke 14:1-6 (esv).
On a particular Sabbath, the day of rest for the Jews, we see the Master as a master teacher of hearts. As Jesus was being watched carefully in a possible set-up, He was a few steps ahead of the Pharisees and lawyers, responding, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”. He went straight to the living reality of their lives prior to His act of healing the man amongst them who suffered from “dropsy” or modern-day edema.
His question tested their kind-heartedness, not their expert knowledge of the 613 levitical laws created from the mosaic commandments so they could have salvation by works. Most likely, they weren’t expecting Jesus to bring them into what was good and right in their own lives. They were silent in response when questioned as our merciful Jesus took the diseased man, healed him and sent him away. He proved the priority of love in His new covenant salvation by faith!
He returned to convict the hearts of all gathered, demonstrating not only the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but pointing out their potential existing considerations of kindness and mercy. Jesus goes a step further with them, making it personal; their very own son, the essential working ox. If you love your own so much, can’t you also love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 2:39)? They are again silenced and could not reply as they must have known how Jesus was right.
Our Lord of the Sabbath saw beyond the schemes of man into wicked accusing hearts, uninhibited to do what was right. He cancelled the hypocrisy of man’s impossible laws, and demonstrated the superior eternal law of love for mankind. Salvation in Christ Jesus depends upon the law accomplished in Him. His love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14). For when we have Christ we also have His righteous love.
Dear Jesus, Your law of love is superior to any way we know. Please convict our hearts when we think we have all the answers. Teach us not to fool ourselves in self-righteous views of others but to actually care for their welfare. Help us to not remain silent once convicted by You, Jesus. But instead, assist our words towards love, mercy and forgiveness with sincere hearts, so you may be glorified in our lives. Amen
How have you experienced the days of sheltering during the Covid19 pandemic? If you are like me, you had an initial but temporary “perplexing” on a daily basis while our “stay at home” orders took place across your locality and eventually, the entire country. March 13, 2020 was our first day to be “quarantined” although none of us were ill. Each day then each week brought various layers of both good and humbling times with your immediate household and this forced seclusion by governmental authorities but also highlighted the values we treasure, yet with an eternal perspective. Many Christian ethics of the home were restored to reemphasize the goodness of the family unit such as slowing down: this brought deliberate and extended meal preparation time and enjoyment, noticing the elongated and the lingering spring transitions in the forsythia bushes and more of creation blossoming, the bird migrations and the swirling wind’s whispering responses of Spring. All of creation appeared, clearly to me, to be waiting on their Creator, Jesus.
It was a few weeks before Easter. As time progressed and each week brought more cancellations like our planned trip to visit my daughter and husband in Colorado. That week, I noticed more of God in the full-moon of passover, creation being more brilliant than ever. The light spoke in a reflecting and golden tone of luminosity, foreboding me to prepare for the death & resurrection of my LORD. He was more apparent than the years before, or ever before. Would He soon return? God stayed with me, working on me as He wanted me to continue to grow in the close, deep relationship we have with Jesus, our LORD.
So I experienced further “idol shedding” in my own faith-walk, questioning my inner motivations, why I do so much for others, serving the poor, caring, counseling, mentoring, initiating and implementing in my biblical counseling ministry and church leadership roles like teaching, small group leadership and missions work. My desire has always been to follow God’s will while I please Him in my heart, being patient to wait for God’s sovereign care of all during the uncertainty of these “coviding” days. Yes, I invented a word “coviding” as I became more and more comfortable with the dictates of the changes. Notice my words that are in quotations, they are unique to these “healing” days.
I had been directed in November of 2019, to take six months off from my normal grind which has many spokes, and I was already in a hiatus from my one-on-one counseling work from January to June of 2020, trying to be motivated to write a counselor’s toolbox article on my #Ushapedgospel doctrinal method in counseling and other ways that I present the gospel in counseling by drawing pictures to show what Christ has done for us and how that relates to living well for Him. But, I’m not really a writer. I love theology, understanding church history and how that applies to my present life and the world around me, but I’m definitely not a proper theologian. Sure, I get it, but was never meant to push out a convincing book. It’s not a God-given calling or gift to do so. I only want to get to my article to help other counselors in training, show a method that makes sense and that states the gospel—-who we are in Christ because of what He has done for us—-his incarnate life, death and resurrection and ascension apply to us presently as He has given Himself for us and to us— we extend the healing power of the Word through His Holy Spirit now. #Ushapedgospel
God had been preparing me to enrich my relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit and even more trust in the person of Jesus Christ to continue to grow in faith—-progressive sanctification, the distinctive of my biblical counseling ministry and teaching. He moved me more and more away from reliance on the world and its self-wrought expectations more towards His fruitful ways—even before March, He was preparing me to be healed in heart, mind, body, spirit and soul. My recent learning on the Puritans seemed more relevant, my time with fellow Christians was more purposeful for care and quiet times of counsel, listening, hearing and relating. Old counselees started calling me in Mid-march, several having panic attacks, wanting a shoulder to lean on, and a prayer of comfort. Then, all of a sudden, I was in Zoom meetings in abundance. I was ready, willing and able to persevere.
I worked out some of my personal kinks as one of the first things I came to terms with during the “lockdown” was how God has prepared me for death already, so I have no fear in meeting Him when He calls me home. Of course, I wore a mask in stores, washed my hands, cleaned produce and more, but this “coviding” time gave me continued confidence in His plan for my life, unafraid of man’s dictates in this world. I then went through layers of personal growth with Jesus, including shedding idols I didn’t see, finding contentment more in basic needs being met, working on heart issues and reflective memories of failure and weakness. I was realigning myself through the Holy Spirit with God’s priorities in my life and enjoying more quiet days and eternal perspective-thinking and response. I was grateful for the six week study I had planned becoming a twelve week study in Romans 8, the perfect chapter of the bible to unite with other like-minded sisters in Christ, while mutually sharing and developing our faith with each other. Resources were readily provided to heal and be healing while sanctification continued in our group.
As I came to the end of my broken, pitiful self, and grew deeper in relationship with Jesus all the day long, He gladly reciprocated His love for me, reminding me of His unfailing love, a gift I received so sweetly. He showed me how He is already glorified. I’ve been journaling these eight weeks so I found myself all over the bible with imperatives for living, but especially in the book of Isaiah, listening to God’s voice of promises for His church, His people.
The promised gifts backed by scripture verses that God made more relevant during the “Healing Coviding Days” are:
God is Sovereign: Psalm 47:8-9 “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth along to God; he is highly exalted!”
Peace and Quiet, Praying for Others and our Leaders –1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Experience peacefulness, being still and knowing “God is God” (Psalm 46:10). Prayer creates a peaceful context for listening well and seeing God for others. Phil 4:17, Psalm 113:7 for the barren woman came to mind as I was, sometimes, simply given these verses through the Holy Spirit to intercede for others, I most likely will never meet, during these healing days.
PASSOVER MOON April 7, 2020, Sea Isle City NJ
Belonging to the LORD for His work – Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way but the LORD establishes his steps.” Isaiah 56:6-8 “..The LORD GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” John 6:29 – Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe inhume who he has sent.” This scripture focus was also significant to me during 9/11 in 2001 as the Holy Spirit pushed me to my knees to pray for our country.Psalm 68:5- God is a Father to the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation,” for work I did with a Deep Waters grant for Westminster Theological Seminary and Rishama International in March called Our Father to the fatherless.
Being Safe in Christ; the “Passover” experience – Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encamps around this who fear him, and delivers them.” Having a full experience of mind, spirit, body and soul. A discipleship of self-control, 2 Tim 1:7ff “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control…But I am not ashamed, for I now whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” Psalm 48:13-14 “..consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is GOD, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”
Shedding of heart-Idols and wrestling in faith for others- Isaiah 30:15-22 “…in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength…the LORD waits to be gracious to you…And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,”…You will scatter your idols as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone”! “
Waiting on the LORD’s return – Isaiah 40:4-6 “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory fo the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth fo the LORD has spoken.”
God’s Promises are always Fulfilled: Genesis 9:12-13, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
DOUBLE RAINBOW appears, Sea Isle City, Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, 2020
It’s now time to continue on and wait patiently for the LORD’s return, one and each day at a time with joyful expectation! Amen
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:19
Living as God’s Steward, are you doing that? How is it that all that I am and all that I have belongs to God? Two particular verses come to mind when I think of how God has taken both my husband and I from very humble financial circumstances to ones of more privilege yet with more danger to worldly wealth, while we are committed to giving to God’s Kingdom, church and missions as He leads us to do so.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“…I am God, your God…For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” Psalm 50:7-11, (shortened for emphasis).
These verses reflect my life lessons and show me how we are like the nations, “a mere drop in the bucket”, as we have very temporary lives in the “now” of the eternal plan of God. Completely humbled by a seminary friend who asked me to partner with him in prayer and speech at the start up of a Nigerian, Keffi school and orphanage, www.rishama.org, I’ve been obedient to have a couple of fundraisers and ongoing advisement and visional prayer for Rishama, as an associate board member. This is one of two major projects at present where God has used my Deep Waters Ministry Fund to help provide financial resources as I am directed by His Spirit to do so.
You see, it is not that our lives belong to us, but they belong to God. Sometimes, I stand back in wonder and know that I had nothing to do, accept obedience and priority of my relationship with Christ Jesus, with where I stand today in His provisional giving for others through me. The believers role is that we were designed to manage what God owns; material resources, finances, possessions, our bodies and health, our spiritual and mental capacities, our life experiences (at age 55, more of these to give away now), and the time we have on earth (knowing He can take us home whenever He wants). Our perspective is eternal in this regard.
Do you ever feel like you are not doing enough OR that you could actually “do more”? I have found conviction in Malachi 3:7-10, “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statues and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?” Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say “How have we robbed you?” In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Wow! How convicting that there is a time where “there is no more need”! And that this shows me how we can “rob” God when we don’t put our total selves to the needed commitment in His kingdom storehouse. Are you willing to “not rob God”?
I am willing and I certainly do even over-extend myself at times, or give sacrificially and that often means doing things (like driving on a terrible polluted highway each week to counsel Cambodian refugee children who receive benefits from my Deep Waters Ministry) that are very difficult or that I at least wish were easier. Check out Logan Hope School and their needs at http://www.loganhope.org! I “rob” God when my heart-attitude or fleshly self comes in and says “do you really want to do this, you’re not even prepared today”!I’m grateful these times are minimal and I learn to be content in my callings and offerings to the Lord, as He is with me in it and keeps me healthy to do it! Yet, I am weak.
I was recently in Luke 16 and had a discussion about serving our One Master, Jesus Christ our Lord, and not “serving money” in our investments but seeing Him in how we invest as well as spend. I have a few stories that might seem odd but when I have let seminary students borrow my Pocono Mountain home for retreats and they always thank me, I say “Just remember when I’m on the streets and broke, you can give me a couch to sleep on”. This is seriously meant, as you never know what tomorrow may bring! So, like the Dishonest Manager, being shrewd in the Luke 16 parable, I hope I have several couches I could crash on if ever needed!
As a counselor, I have the resources of experience, training and tools. God has also given me many ways to be creative, even “on the spot” as the Spirit leads! I am a visual learner and teacher. I often “draw a picture” in my counseling time and use concentric circles which are very popular these days because they are effective. For example, Your Responsibility Circle with God in the center and then Self, then World, Church, Government, Family and Work tell us what is our responsibility and what is not, yet often they overlap like in a Venn diagram. God knows when and how He might use your resources if you, good steward, are prepared, geared up and ready to do so. Have faith and prepare to hear “well done good and faithful steward”. Amen
My Deep Waters Ministry (DWM) is a biblical counseling ministry that has 3 branches: Biblical Counseling, Christian Education & Discipleship Resources, and Missional work to the Homeless. If my personal ministry of counseling, advising or teaching or if a partner’s ministry falls in to these 3 categories, it may be a DWM funded project, frequently with my oversight and involvement.
I counsel (one-on-one) in my home office, on Zoom or Skype or at various churches under the Pastor’s or Chaplain’s care, knowledge and follow up. I provide christian education and resources for facilitation of small groups, and missional homeless advisement (an example is getting welfare secular youth into a Christian retreat along with a “faith essay” contest). I have worked on a secular board of governance in the 5 county region welfare environment for homelessness of youth, representing myself as a biblical counselor, mentor and Christian voice in a sea of chaos.
I have partnered with two Christian schools in Philadelphia; ICHSPhila.org and Logan Hope school for counseling, Christian counseling implementation and training with an array of ministry.
I counsel women and students in my immediate community (Conestoga HS, Berwyn and Great Valley SD, Malvern PA), college students online and others who mainly suffer with anxiety. Ministry fruit has appeared in heart-change, growth and transformation out of the painful depths of suicide, sexual harm and loneliness and depression struggles. I was a Senior High youth leader/teacher at my weekly church youth group for high school girls, taught adult Sunday School and am a member of our church’s Missions Committee (Great Valley Presbyterian, EPC).
If you are interested in connecting for counseling and/or resources, please email me at email@example.com
Cinda Marturano, January 27, 2007—-Westminster Theological Seminary, Counseling in the Local Church class;
My first thought of the day is connected to my heart; “Lord, I’m being drawn by you to encounter you today and be close to you through the Holy Spirit. You approached me, belong to me and are with me today. I am yours and you are mine. We are a part of something together. Bless you, Bless me.” Is this a dream mode or a special place where we meet our God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit? Is He really “there” for us?
The fact that God makes Himself known to us in prayer is something that I want to share with other believers. Over the years of my Christian life I have experienced prayer in many different ways and modes; personally, in small groups, in large settings, corporately, and in conferences of thousands. One of the most honorable ways to pray is alone as Matthew 6:6 tell us to “go into your room, pray to your Father who is unseen…and He will reward you.” This time of prayer alone has its purpose as does praying in twos and threes.
Prayer can be a means to grow in faith with in the body of Christ and in the Redemptive community God desires for us to have. In groups, we can “do” prayer in many ways.
Establishing Prayer and Encouragement Partners (PAE) “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”Matthew 18:20;
I see a need for established and organized prayer and encouragement partners (PAE) who will in essence be “peer counselors” within small groups, ministries and bible studies. This idea is nothing new, but an often missed need of commitment to each other. Through prayer and accountability, relationships will strengthen, supporting the bedrock of Christ’s church, His people. Peer counselors admonish each other, equally. There is not a counselor/client relationship as traditional counseling takes place.
Why is prayer and encouragement so important to us believers? Our heart attitude is dictated by Ephesians 4:2:
“Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Built up and mature, we reach fullness of Christ and desire progressive sanctification so we can have oneness in Christ, the unity of believers. We also need to call on our Father with a sincere heart out of our need, knowing that He is available, accessible and willing and waiting to help us. Together, in pairs of two or three, we can uphold each other’s burdens, speak to God in the unity of the Spirit and know each other well. This is redemptive community in action and interaction with God.
Meeting together to pray is a way to be understood and to understand your partner with an obvious and desired called presence of the Holy Spirit, our true comforter. This peer counseling is supported through Christ and by others. We witness change as our heart attitude learns to be humble and gentle, patient, and bearing with one another in love. Jesus’ truths will reign as we live it out.
Inception and Facilitation of Prayer and Encouragement Partners (PAE)
Prayer is for everyone in the church. Yet many will not want to participate as a PAE. With the understanding that some with the gift of “faith” can strengthen another through this type of partnering, it will increasingly aide in biblical peer counseling. It will allow for a “new” method to add some fresh air to assist in the changing of hearts for all involved. We will pray and counsel the word together.
Let us take Jesus’ example of prayer in John 17:20-23 to heart:
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.“
We are under Christ Jesus alone with our spiritual gifts of faith and encouragement and in the Lord when we love each other in a concrete way through spending time praying with and for another. Who are your PAE partners? We have drawn near to God and He is nearer to us because Jesus is here with us as our ultimate Counselor.