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Uniting Communion with Prayer

The word unite refers to coming or bringing together for a common purpose or action. In a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul explains the meaning and purpose of communion. Whenever you partake in communion, the passage below is either read or summarized. Yet, if you exclude prayer from communion, there is a key element being overlooked.

For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord’s death until He comes [again], 1 Corinthians 11:26.

Perhaps, first century churches began taking communion services for granted, going through the motions without any personal reflection. The passage below serves as a warning, a reminder to take this sacrament seriously. To avoid this careless mistake, Paul urges readers to thoroughly examine yourself prior to eating the bread and drinking your cup.

So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup, 1 Corinthians 11:27-28.

While in college, one of my mentors served as a pastor in a rural area. Many of his members took this passage to the extreme, not showing up at all on Sunday for church, feeling unworthy and unprepared to take communion. After a couple of months, pastor Jack stopped announcing when communion would be served, changing the weeks every month. The next time you partake in communion, prepare yourself with prayer so that contrite hearts will begin to purge sin from your life.

by Jay Mankus

Look Up, Look Within and Look Around

The current culture that exists encourages individuals to point their finger at everyone but themselves.  This mentality enables blame to become attached to innocent people.  Cable news, social media and talk radio often defends the guilty while accusing those who share an alternative worldview.  Instead of continuing down this road, perhaps its time to look up by using prayer to ask God why?

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, Matthew 6:33.

If you don’t receive a definitive answer, maybe its time to look within.  When things don’t go your way, you may be the person responsible.  This is where accountability comes into play.  If you surround yourself with yes people, you might not ever hear the honest truth.  After any fall in life, God uses humility to teach sinners to learn from mistakes from the past.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened, Matthew 7:8.

One thing God is teaching me is to avoid becoming self absorbed.  I tend to get so focused on what I am doing that I ignore the needs of others.  To correct this bad habit, change begins by looking up for divine intervention.  When insight arrives, personal reflection may be required to alter your direction in life if necessary.  Finally, as individuals begin to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, its much easier to look around to see where God want you to be.

by Jay Mankus

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