LEAGUE of the CANADIAN REFORMED WOMENS SOCIETIESHORIZON is a quarterly magazine published by the
LEAGUE of the CANADIAN REFORMED WOMEN'S SOCIETIES
VOLUME 15 NO. 1 SEPTEMBER 1999

E-mail the Horizon
Miriam Verburg, [email protected]
Shirley Broekema, [email protected]

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Article ....In This Issue
ArticleThe Need for Bible Study

Article....A Look At Inductive Bible Study

ArticleHow Does Our women Society Function
 

 

In This Issue

To grow in faith and wisdom is a command of God. To grow in faith and wisdom means to know our God and Father more and more as each day passes by in our life. The focus of this HORIZON issue is the study of God's Word and in particular how it takes place within the society life of the congregation of Christ. Daily life is very busy for some and less for others, but the study of Gods Word is something that we should not only desire in our heart but also set out to do with hand and mind.

Precisely in a world that is seemingly spinning faster and faster do we need to focus continually on the Word of God for direction and guidance in all our activities. This is how our Father desires to strengthen us. The study of God's Word can take place m many and varied ways. God requires from us that we diligently receive the preaching. We also need to daily search the Scriptures in our homes as well as study together with our brothers and sisters in the congregation.

Each of these ways should have the goal to grow in faith and wisdom. In a future issue we hope to be able to also look at other approaches to bible study in the society. We hope you are built up and encouraged by these articles and we welcome your response.


Shirley Broekema
Editorial Committee

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THE NEED FOR BIBLE STUDY

We are all familiar with exclamations and questions like the following:


God is love - Yeah! Hallelujah!

Where do we come from, and where are we headed?

What Would Jesus Do?

What does Calvin (Schilder, VanOene, VanDam) say about it?

All of these are uttered frequently by people around us, and we may or may not be ready to retort in an appropriate way right off the bat in all of these cases, even though we may have a gut-feeling that there is something fishy about at least some of them. But just what?!

Why do we need to study Scripture? To get things 'out of it'? To get better at Bible Trivia games? To become amateur theologians? To construct frameworks and principles from which we can deduct a Godly lifestyle? To better understand the sermon? Well, these may indeed be the fruits of our studies, but they should not be the purpose. Knowing Scripture prepares us to answer this single more important question: What does God say?


1. Where We Came From, and Who We Are.


Why do we need to study Scripture? To answer that question well, we should go back to the beginning. In the beginning God was, and the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1: 1); and God created the heavens and the earth, and the Spirit of God moved upon the waters (Genesis 1: 1,2). That is quite a mouthful, but it establishes for us that the Triune God was there from the very beginning. It was this Triune God who prepared the earth for habitation in His great care for all that He planned to do. In the end, when all else was ready (light, land air, water, plants, birds, fish, and animals), God created the crown of creation. We read about this crown of creation in Psalm 8: Babes and infants chant God's glory above the heavens.. Man was made a little less than God, and crowned with glory and honour.. Man was given dominion over the works of God's Hands.. 0 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy Name in all the earth!

God had made man well, and gave him a mandate to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth, and to subdue it. With this cultural mandate God did not leave man alone with His creation - as deists might want to argue. God had a close relationship with man, and cared for him continually - as is well illustrated by Genesis 2 when Adam receives from God a woman. That care of God for His creation has never yet abated! We also see the shock in Genesis 3 when the relationship is broken, and people hide from God.

We can picture how heartbroken a young adult feels, when a boyfriend or a girlfriend just dumps him or her ''without cause'. We might have felt like we got a slap in the face. But our first parents slapped their and our Creator, God Almighty, in His Holy Face! The crown of His creation (for whom He cared so much!) decided to side with His great enemy and opponent, Satan, and to ignore His holy and loving covenant command.

Let us remember that we are the crown of God's creation, and yet wilfully disobeyed Him. We are deserters and therefore deserve execution. But in His boundless mercy, God not only stayed the execution, He even promised a new and glorious future. Certainly, they were driven away from God's presence in the Garden of Eden, but God's care did not entirely leave them. There was still light, and rain, and soil, and food, and companionship - even though there now also came sweat, tears, death, pain, theft, confusion, murder, and mistrust. But there was also the glorious promise: the eventual defeat of Satan, forgiveness of sins, a new heaven with a new earth, and the comforting promise that all things must work together for the salvation of those whom the Lord chose to save from the beginning of the world.

Here we see God's care, His love. Yes, He is love! But we also know how terribly His anger burned when He destroyed the first world with the Flood.


2. Knowing God

Even though God is love, we also see His anger and wrath. Who is this God, who yet stays our execution, who cares for us, who gives us a new future to look forward to and in Whom all things that happen in our lives have sense? One might think this God is foolish, and indeed Paul refers to the foolishness of the cross (1 Cor. 1: 18). After all, instead of punishing the sinner, He punished His own Son to satisfy His justice. Instead of letting His anger bum against us in the eternal hen of fire, grief, and desolation,He took it out on His own Son. But this Son was the only One Who could bear it - and He loved us so much that He willingly endured it to the end.

This is awesome. This is beyond us, even beyond all of us together. Who in his right mind would have thought of such depth and breadth of love of God Almighty for sinful man? Why would He do that? The answer is equally mind boggling: it was His good pleasure (Ephesians 1).

In the context of the covenant on which I need not elaborate here, you win understand that God gave all these promises of deliverance and salvation also for a purpose. That purpose is that we should show thankfulness as the Heidelberg Catechism states; that we might do what is His good pleasure (Phil.2:13).

This God, who does such wonderful things that our mouths fall open in awe, that He can and will really do such marvellous things for us; who allows us to know Him, and to walk with Him and to talk with Him, this God tells us who He is in the Bible, every page of it. We also know Him from creation (BC., art. 2), and even better from His own Living Word with which He speaks to us today, as He did to others years ago. Would we not want to know God Almighty better all the time? Enoch did, and he walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Noah did, and he trusted God, and the waters of the flood did not cover him. David did, the man after God's heart, who sang,

0 that my ways may be steadfast in keeping thy statutes!...
I will praise thee with an upright heart, when I learn thy righteous ordinances..
With my whole heart I will seek thee; let me not wander from thy commandments!
(Ps 119: 5,7,10)

When this same David sinned with Bathsheba and Uriah, he confessed his sin and found new peace with God (Ps. 51); but also (Psalm 32:35):

When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD";
then thou didst forgive the guilt of sin.

How would David have had the confidence to go to God Almighty if He had not known His mercy and His loving kindness? How would he have dared if he had not known God's words of deliverance and salvation such as he himself spoke in Psalm 103?

Bless the LORD, 0 my soul and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, 0 my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as
long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.. (Ps. 103)

Consider also Psalm 27:

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord. and to inquire in his temple


3. Searching the Scriptures is a Command


That is who our God is (see B.C., art. 1) - but this tells only a little bit! To know more, we need to search the Scriptures. Kings in the Old Testament had to make a copy of the Book of the Law for themselves and read in it diligently, every day, to make sure that they would lead God's people in His ways (Deut. 17:18). Priests and Levites had to teach them - and we see in the prophet Hosea's eighth Century BC proclamations what disastrous effects their failure to obey had on the people:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,
because you (priests) have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me
And because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children...
(4:6; see also 13:4).

That is exactly what happened: in 722 BC, even during Hosea's lifetime, the Assyrians conquered Israel and Samaria and carried them into exile. (God was merciful however, and 'left a lamp' for David in Jerusalem with kings like Hezekiah (715-686 BC), and continued to work out His 'covenant plan of salvation.)

This theme of the need for knowing the Word of God also resounds in the New Testament, just like David sought to inquire in God's temple. In the New Testament God's people are also urged to hear the Word as it is preached and to diligently search the Scriptures, in order to be wellequipped for the office to which we were called (see LD 12), and to discern. I'll list a few examples:

... that you may have the power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and that you may know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-1 9.)


Ephesians 6:10-13 is about the putting on of the armour of God - which includes the footwear of the gospel of peace and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the Word of God:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might Put on the whole armour of God, that you maybe able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand..

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3: 14-17.)

I John 4:1 urges us to beware of false teachers, whom we can recognize if we know God's Word: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world..

This selection of verses makes it clear how emphatic Scripture itself is in the New Testament about knowing God's Word.


4. Yes, But..

Having seen that we are terribly interested in better knowing God who loves us so much, and that He even tells us to Search the Scriptures, we must now come to the point of decision making. Do we want to know God better? Do we want to listen to His commands in Scripture - not only to search them, but also to thankfully do them? Or do we not? Consider again Philippians 2:12-13:

"Therefore (considering Christ and how He humbled himself), my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."


Here, we may raise objections:

I'm so busy, I never get around to it!
Well, we read the Bible three times a day at the table, with the family!
Boy, we hear over 100 sermons a year, won't that suffice?
Occasionally we look up a text or seek an answer to a question with the help of Scripture!

Why are we so busy, and with what? How well do we remember the reading of the Bible at the table? How well do we remember the sermon? Let us be honest - our own active involvement in studying the Scriptures is far more effective than someone else's involvement! We remember best the chapters of our Bible study about which we prepared an essay or introduction; ministers also get far more out of the sermon than we do. Some people greatly benefit from making their personal daily Bible study also serve as preparation for the study society meeting, again increasing their own involvement. This would be a good reason to take notes during the proclamation of the Word in church - so our minds won't wander. It works for me! (Teachers like to give students worksheets, so they will better remember what they have been telling them.)

Hearing God's Word takes concentration, focus, a willing heart and mind to hear what is said. When the Proverbs say, 'My son, give me your heart!' (23:26), that is an appeal to busy ourselves with wisdom, and the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. It is an appeal to know God and to search the Scriptures, in order that we may be better able to know God and to serve Him, and to love each other. It is through His Word and Spirit that God gives us faith - and He will work in us.... "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13)... for which precise purpose also several special gifts were given to the congregation.


Keith Sikkema,
Smithville, Ont.

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A LOOK AT INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY


Purpose of Bible Study

Of all the things we could improve on in life, the effectiveness with which we study God's Word certainly is one of them. In 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 Paul comments on the purpose of Scripture, noting that it "Is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." It is apparent from this passage that, while the Word of God is the only source of knowledge about the salvation we hold so dear, it also focuses on changing us and teaching us how to live; the Scriptures are to function as our chief teacher, rebuker, corrector, and trainer. We should not study God's Word just to increase in knowledge. Rather, an increase in the knowledge of God must lead to hearts and hands and lives that are directed to God's glory and praise. Our study of God's Word really is not finished until it has led us to live His way. The Scriptures, thus, teach us how to live and equip us to do what is good.


The Inductive Method

If this is the purpose of the Scriptures, clearly our study of God's Word must be directed to the same end. That can perhaps be done by means of an essay and a subsequent discussion, especially if that discussion is carefully controlled by the discussion leader. However, it has been the experience of many that the traditional approach with an essay and subsequent discussion has been less than satisfactory. Often the discussion is haphazard; questions are asked in a somewhat disorganized and unfocused way. It frequently results in people going home having heard the opinions of others, but without the confidence that God's Word has really been heard. And the purpose is after all, not to hear people's opinions, but God's authoritative Word, is it not?

One Bible study method that meets the objective in a more satisfactory way is the Inductive Method. The inductive method is a process of reasoning from particular facts to a general rule or principle, whereas the deductive method is a way of reasoning from a general rule or principle and applied to a particular case or situation. Essay writing largely follows a deductive method of reasoning in which conclusions are reached from the passage as a whole. The inductive method, using a series of questions, attempts to get the reader into the passage and allows him to see, by an inductive process of reasoning, the train of thought in the passage. Here the material is looked at in a more organized way as one is led, first, to make the necessary observations about the passage, then to come to a clearer understanding of many of its elements, and lastly to see its application in our hearts and lives. The Inductive approach, thus, uses three basic methods:

1. Observation: What significant facts or aspects of the passage do we need to note?

2. Interpretation: What does the passage mean?

3. Application: What does the passage say and mean to me? Apply it to our lives.

By means of a series of questions, the members of the group are expected to study the passage at home, and then discuss it together at the meeting.


Advantages of Inductive Method

I believe that this method has the following advantages:

1. God's Word is understood better.

Because this method involves going through the passage of Scripture together and rediscovering the truth of God's word, the discussion tends to become less a matter of what this person thinks or what that commentary says, and more a matter of struggling together with the Word itself. Remember that no commentary is inspired, only the Word of God is. Scripture is its own best interpreter, and this method encourages us to compare Scripture with Scripture as much as possible.

2. Essays Optional.

This method allows us to supplement the essay or to do away with essays altogether. Often the essayist puts much study and effort into making the essay, and is disappointed to find that the discussion touched only on certain aspects of the passage, or that the discussion was about something not found in the passage, or that no application was made, or that many came unprepared. Some do not join society for fear of being expected to write an essay. On the other hand, if there are groups who enjoy making and using essays, they can easily do that in addition to using the inductive approach.

3. Silence is Golden.

This method will do away with those paralysing moments of silence that often occur when no one has a question. As the given questions are answered, we often come up with more questions and comments. Silence does not need to make us nervous (who has a question, quick?!); it can be an indication that there is some serious thinking going on.

4. More Openness.

This method allows us to become more personal and open with each other. When we are confronted with other people's opinion, then we easily become offended and defensive, but when in this way we are confronted not with the opinion of man but of God, with the frank and open message of Scripture, our guard comes down and we accept it. Then, as we seek to encourage, support, and admonish each other, our lives begin to change in response to the Word.

5. Smaller Groups.

This method allows a society to begin together and then to split up into 2 or 3 smaller groups for discussion. The ideal size of a group for Bible study is 6-8. People are less intimidated in speaking in a small group, and there is more possibility to be open and personal with each other.

6. Better Participation.

Even those who are hesitant to express their opinion, find it easier to read their answers and to participate in the discussion.

7. More Preparatory Study.

This method urges us all to do preparatory study, and when some have not done so, it is quite obvious to the group. Too often in the traditional format, the essayist is the only one who has done any significant study beforehand. The more work we all put into reading Scripture, studying it and answering the questions at home, the more we win benefit from the study of God's Word, and the more others will benefit from us.


Suggestions for Study

Over the last ten years that I have used this method, I am hesitant to recommend any one series. The most suitable material seems to be the LifeChange Series from Navpress, though study guides vary with different authors. Each lesson includes short pieces of information, factual questions, thought and discussion questions, questions for further study, and application questions. Not all questions need to be dealt with, and members are encouraged to come up with their own questions as well. Weaknesses will no doubt be found in any study guide that will be used, but we need to remember that they are only a guide to help us study the passage. Surely with all our years of training in the Scriptures and the confessions we should be able collectively to pick out such weaknesses. A good guide will help us to study the Bible systematically and to understand it correctly. We should be willing to share with other societies what works well and what does not, and what the strengths and weaknesses are of the guides they have used.

One disadvantage to this method that I have heard several times is the lack of study guides written by Reformed people. Admittedly this is a problem. How do we address this problem? We could encourage our ministers to write such guides for us; I understand that Rev. R. Schouten has written one on I Corinthians, for instance. Some members of a study group could also write a series of questions ahead of time; our group did this with some chapters of II Samuel. We should be watching publications written by individual authors; there is a very good study guide on the Sermon on the Mount by John Stott, for example. "The Banner of Truth Trust"' is an organization that has published a new series of brief commentaries which include study guides in the back. The first one in that series, Let's Study Philippians, written by Sinclair B. Ferguson of Westminster Seminary, looks quite promising.

One might argue that the use of such study guides would make the outlines and publications of the Inter-League Publication Board unnecessary, but that is not true. One can use other books alongside of the Bible at home and the ILPB's books will continue to be useful. The point is, however, that if our discussions are going to be focused and directed towards the goals mentioned at the beginning of this article, we will need a guide. It is here that inductive study guides are truly helpful. Perhaps the ILPB could assist in this goal by having such guides published or by providing guides for the books published thus far. (Questions in their present guides are really of the deductive sort.)


Summary

When we study Scripture in this manner, our study of the Word becomes a joy and a delight, and the group interacts in a better way. Then it is not just a matter of listening to the most loquacious persons, but listening to the Word of God and helping each other to live in its light.

At the same time, it cannot be emphasized enough that the method alone will not do it. Whatever the method, benefits will only come if we do sufficient preparatory study at home. The only answer to laziness is to get to work. Prayerful searching of the Scriptures still needs to be done. To interact with the Scriptures as a group is another challenge and in this regard this method has already proven its worth to many of us.

Teny Visscher
Burlington-Waterdown

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HOW DOES OUR WOMEN'S SOCIETY FUNCTION?

 

How can we make our women's societies more effective? This question is raised year after year as societies seek to improve on the style and the value of the meetings. First, we must understand that there has to be a common objective for attending women's society. We can find this purpose in Ephesians 3:17: so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. That is the heart of the matter which is achievable in three ways: study of God's Word, mutual upbuilding of one another, and through prayer and praise.


1. Study of God's Word

Bible study begins at home. Naturally this involves preparatory study but equally important is prayer. Ask the Lord to open your heart and allow you to learn much at Women's Society. Go then with that anticipation and you may be assured that you will indeed discover treasures in the Word of God.

Preparation at home

Slowly read through the Bible passage a few times (and do not reach for the commentary too quickly). Do that for a few days as a type of personal Bible study. Reflect and meditate on the message of salvation. Consider first of all what God desires to say to us. Ask yourself the question, "What does this passage mean for the history of man, as well as for us today? You may be guaranteed that God's Word gives strength for each day! Seek that strength which God desires to give from His Word. That is the central focus, His Word! That is also what the essay should direct attention to.

The essay

The essay should be simple and short. Your children should not get the wrong impression about Women's Society by seeing you sweat and slave over a pile of commentaries and study guides. Begin with a short summary of the previous discussion; say a few words about the context of the Bible passage giving some helpful information about time, place and situation; explain a few difficult concepts in the passage; where necessary shed some light on names or geographical concepts and in conclusion present some discussion points. Do not make an elaborate essay. The essay is an introduction not an elaboration or sermon!

Other methods

Another popular method is to study the passage verse by verse. The advantage of going about it in this fairly simple way is that the entire passage receives attention. The disadvantage is that you could miss the larger context. As an occasional alternative it is worth a try.

A third method is to use a study guide with good discussion questions. Everyone would be required to read the guide and prepare answers to the questions before the meeting.

Another, more difficult, method is to have someone (possibly working in pairs) prepare a few thesis points. This may not be easy but can be very useful.

If you have children between ages 12 and 16 you may be familiar with the Swedish method. Here you hand out copies of the Bible passage, marked as follows:


a. with a question mark beside things you don't understand.
b. with an exclamation mark beside
parts which you find striking.
c. with a short commentary beside some verses.

This provides an excellent source for discussion during the meeting.


Small groups

Studying in smaller groups usually benefits the members more. You generally feel more comfortable in a group of four or five. Those who never speak up in a large group will do that in a smaller group. They may have valuable things to contribute to strengthen and encourage others. You will miss what is said in the other groups. If you, however only get together in large groups you will also miss the contributions of a number of people. What is the issue: to hear everything a handful of people have to say or to give everyone the opportunity to participate?


Who has a question?

Another important point is that you should never begin a meeting with, "Who has the first question?" That seems to be a standard starting point at our meetings. God's Word doesn't only give rise to questions, does it? God's Word isn't complicated or difficult, is it? That is in conflict with our confession that God's Word is clear, a lamp to our feet, a light on our path! Therefore I wish to plead that we begin our meetings by asking, "Who would like to react to this Bible passage?" We can react in many ways: what caught my attention, by what do I feel admonished what gives me comfort, what am I thankful to God for, and also, what don't I understand. That is much more than a question!


2. Mutual upbuilding

Openness and a pleasant atmosphere

The Society is a part of the communion of saints. One of the ways to achieve the goal "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith" is through mutual upbuilding. During Bible study you become a hand and foot to One another, you listen to each other. Those are elements of mutual upbuilding. Openness and a pleasant and trusting atmosphere are essential. We could call these the foundations for mutual upbuilding. To achieve this openness and a pleasant and trusting atmosphere you have to - and I say it again - pray for it at home. Prepare yourself prayerfully in a quiet place at home for the meeting. Pray for a good meeting with a good atmosphere; pray for the essayist and the discussion leader. Pray also for those members with whom you have difficulty getting along. Pray that God will allow you to see the other's gifts. After such a prayer you will have a changed attitude. Maybe you yourself are a "difficult person". Trust that God will answer your prayer, and that of others, to conduct yourself differently that evening. Pray if necessary that God will "set a guard upon my lips".


Reacting

Do not respond immediately when you are in disagreement with someone's comment. If you do she may not feel free to continue speaking. Instead, ask some questions. After all, sometimes people express themselves somewhat awkwardly or perhaps sharper than they intended. By a calm reaction you demonstrate that you accept that fact. That is how you work on openness. If something doesn't make sense that will be cleared up with further discussion. Especially the discussion leader should be very conscientious about this point.

Do not stick too long with one question. Sometimes it is good to continue the discussion until an answer is found but often it is important to also dwell on what it means for us today. That demands a personal reaction and a sharing together. Read how the New Testament speaks about how the brothers and sisters were one in faith and had all things in common, not only materially, but also in sharing their concerns. We should share our troubles much more together instead of keeping them to ourselves. When we seek openness we should not be wearing masks, should we? Let there be room for personal issues. Of course this should not crowd out the discussion about God's Word;, the two should go together. God's Word is timely, a light on our path. But ever since Genesis our path has been strewn with stones; every day again there are problems, cares and sorrows. Speak about them together and in this way bear one anothers burdens. Women's society provides an excellent opportunity for that. Encourage and comfort one another.


3. Praise and Prayer

Prayer Is a necessity

At Society prayer takes place at the beginning and end of the meeting this is a good custom. However prayer could take up a greater place at the meeting. In Q&A 116 of the Heidelberg Catechism we read that prayer is necessary for Christians because it is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. Above all, God will give His grace and Holy Spirit only to those who constantly and with heartfelt longing ask Him for these gifts and thank Him for them. That should be an excellent incentive to consider whether more attention could be give to prayer during the meeting. Prayer is comparable to gas for an engine, oil for a lamp, oxygen for people; prayer is the life of the soul. At the meeting give attention in prayer to:

unworthiness, consciousness of sin, the need for forgiveness,
thanksgiving to God for His care and faithfulness,
praise to Him that He is our great and righteous God,
intercession for one another.


Intercession

Jesus is our great Intercessor. Also in this aspect we should follow His example. At Society we could do much more in the way of intercessory prayer. In a very concrete way we should ask before the close of the evening, "For whom or about what can we pray together?" For example: something that happened during the meeting, for someone who will be undergoing an operation, for a family, for particular children, for the congregation, for the minister, for the consistory etc. Incorporate the needs and requests in the prayer at the meeting. If we desire more openness we also need to pray for one another. It is a tremendous support to know that you are being remembered in prayer. Resolve to spend more time and attention on prayer as the chief part of our thankfulness before God.


Singing

In conclusion, singing is also praying. Take five to ten minutes to sing together. It is beautiful to sing praises to God for then we are, so to speak, building the throne of God. Of course, God's throne is not dependent on our praises but He does desire to be enthroned on the praises of Israel! Remember also what Paul said: address one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Do this at your Society meetings!

Based on "Het functioneren van de vrowenvergeniging in de gemeente"

B. Bos -
Wegwijs

(translated by Miriam Slaa of Elora )

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