June 2017

Reflection on Prayer and Spirituality 

Fr Owain Mitchell

THE GREAT COMMISSION:

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:17-20)

 

This passage is central to the Christian Faith. It is the commission given by Jesus to His followers.  It teaches us many things.

 

  1. A disciple is a follower, a student with a teacher. Jesus teaches us to live well before God and alongside each other as we follow Him. We are invited to follow Jesus, Who will guide and direct us to where He wants us to be.
  2. Before we can do anything else, we must worship God Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Everything we do must be rooted in prayer. It is through prayer that Jesus guides and directs us. It is through prayer that we come to know His will for our lives. Worship is our first calling. (Ex. 20:1-6; Jn. 16:23-24)
  3. We all doubt at times, but if we have faith in Him, Jesus will overcome our doubts and fears, and enable us to do many great things in His name. (Jn. 14:1)
  4. We are to live not by our own power or will, nor according to the worlds standards, but by God’s alone. God gave His Son all authority, and so we must follow Him. (Jn. 5:19-29)
  5. We are called to spread the Good News about Jesus, drawing others to the source of love and life.  And so we are to be apologists (talking to people about our faith), evangelists (encouraging people to turn to Christ), examples (living in such a way that shows how our lives are transformed by our faith) and generous (not counting the cost of discipleship), but doing everything for God’s glory and the benefit of all humanity. (Mtt. 4:19; Mtt. chapter 5-7; Mtt. 8:18-22; Mtt. 10; Jn. 15:12-17; etc.)
  6. There is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit Who created (made) us, Who redeemed (saves) us, Who sanctifies (makes holy) us.  In baptism, we are incorporated or made members of the Body of Christ (the Church).
  7. We are called to share all the benefits of this with the people around us, loving them as God loves us, and by opening ourselves up to be the means by which God can draw others to Himself. What others see in us will shape how they know God. (Mtt. 15:1-9; Jn. 3.17; Lk. 6:43-49; Lk 8:4-8, etc.)
  8. In His life, death and resurrection (coming back to life) Jesus taught us how to live God’s way. He taught us that we are all God’s beloved children; that God must be our first love, and we must love Him completely; that we must love others as we love ourselves; that we must try to live life perfectly, will fail, but will be given a fresh start every time we turn back to God; that if we love one another as Jesus loves us, others will see and know that we are His disciples; by keeping Jesus’ commandments we show our love for Him. (Jn14:15; Mtt. 22:34-40; Mtt. 5.48; Lk. 18:18-30; Jn. 13:31-35)
  9. We are never alone. Jesus is always with us for eternity, teaching us, protecting us, praying for us and hearing and answering our prayer. He prepares for us a place in His Father’s Kingdom. If we follow Jesus’ teachings, trust and obey Him and allow Him to lead us and transform us, He will never let us down. (Jn. 14:2; Jn. chapters 16-17, etc.)

This is our calling. Do our lives, our church and the world reflect this? If not, what do we need to do to fulfil God’s call? We cannot do it alone, we must ask the Father, through the Son, to enable us by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 13 talks about faith, hope and love, and in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 we are encouraged to put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.