Blog
Posted on October 15, 2019 8:00 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
David was wise enough not to trust his heart. He prayed about it.
 
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way
everlasting! (Psalm 139)
 
Human hearts naturally acquire inappropriate targets. The Book of Judges teaches that what seems “right in our own eyes” may be wrong. We faithlessly follow our first parents’ fatal footsteps. We are born into a wilderness of sin, consequences, and separation from God. Life is difficult. The difficulty is escalating as people increasingly love wrong targets of self, money, and pleasure rather than God and neighbor (2 Tim. 3:1-5). There is a time to love, and a time to hate (Ec 3:8).
 
It’s all too easy to follow Lot’s wife’s example and confuse the two. Our desperately wicked hearts (Jer. 17:9) make us love the wrong things. Loving the wrong things is still lethal today. Addictions of every kind are deadly. So, discipline yourself to deny yourself. Fast and pray as Jesus did.
 
Thankfully, God offers us right desires (good targets to desire). But wrong targets still abound. Choose your targets prayerfully and aim your heart carefully. Guard your steps even when you go to the house of God. Come as Jesus came, to serve. And after worshipping with the Church, follow Christ into the wilderness. Be His messenger. He is still seeking and saving the lost.
 
Is Christlikeness in your heart? Search it. And ask God to search it again, because love is powerful. And you’d better be sure of your target and beyond.
 
-- Ken Slaughter serves as CABA's Prayer Encourager. He also pastors Mt. Repose First Baptist Church in Milford, Oh.
Posted on October 7, 2019 8:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
if a first-time church guest asked you what Sunday School is all about, what do you think you would say?  Some might say it is about teaching the Bible.  That would only be partially correct.  If it is about Bible teaching alone, then why do we worry about keeping the groups smaller?  Why do we organize the groups by age/grade?  Why do we encourage discussion and participation?  Why worry about caring for one another’s needs in the class?  If it is just about Bible teaching, then why don’t we have one big class with the most qualified teacher teaching it?  Sunday School is a ministry that involves teaching the Bible and reaching new people and caring for the needs of people, but without relationships, the functions of the Sunday School could easily be done in another way.
 
Sunday School allows relationships to grow by spending time with people.  As we spend time with people in the classroom setting, we can learn about the Bible from one another, but in the process,  we learn about each other as well.  If a Sunday School class is deliberate about it, relationships may also grow outside the classroom setting.  By visiting over coffee, at an event or even in someone’s home, we move from casual acquaintances to close friendship just by spending time together.  Sunday School gives us that opportunity.
 
Relationships grow in a place of safety.  In a good Sunday School class, people feel they can express their hurts without out fear that someone will gossip about them.  People can share their struggles without fear of being judged and condemned.  If criticism about the church staff or a church decision flows freely in a classroom, people feel they are in the middle of a conflict and are unlikely to return.  Even emotional political discussions can make people feel they are not in a safe environment.  When we see that Sunday School is built on relationships, we can take the needed steps to create an environment that feels more open and safe.
 
Relationships grow through listening.  God gave us two ears and two eyes and only one mouth.  Perhaps there is a message there for us.  We can listen better when we notice body language with our eyes and listen to what is being said and how it is being communicated.  By focused listening, we can perhaps feel the emotion behind what is being said and be less preoccupied by what we are about to say.  By asking questions about the person’s comments and repeating a paraphrase of what they have shared, we make deeper connections by being better listeners.
 
Relationships grow through motives of love and acts of kindness.  Simply remembering a person’s birthday or anniversary can communicate love.  Knowing a person’s favorite color or empathizing with what they experience in their workplace can communicate love.  Praying for or with someone is an act of love.  Love is meaningless unless it is communicated, so words and acts of kindness are vital for growing deeper in relationships.
 
Relationships can take you in the right direction or the wrong direction.  Teens get caught up in gangs and toxic peer groups because of wrong relationships.  With social media and interactive video games, predators can take advantage of kids longing for a meaningful relationship.  Even adults can be pulled into destructive and unhealthy activities in their quest for stronger relationships.  In the church, we have a powerful relationship tool called the Sunday School.  Like any tool, it can only do its job in the hands of a willing worker. 
Posted on September 5, 2019 8:00 AM by Diane Sibcy
Categories: General
Here are some tips for having a successful Block Party event:

Before:

PLAN AHEAD: Possible Events could be Back to School Celebration, Fall Harvest Parties, Winter Wonderland in the gym, Spring Fling, End of School Celebration, VBS, Block Parties, Church Picnics etc.
 
RESERVE A TRAILER NOW: Go to CincinnatiBaptist.com and look for TRESS on the toolbar. To ensure your reservation, send your paperwork with payment to Diane two weeks after your reservation is made.

PREPARE YOUR TEAM: Be ready to share the gospel. 2 Timothy 4:2 In advance, train "Tellers" who share the gospel.

During:

REMEMBER-Block Party Trailers are great fun for both inside and outside Events; however, if you’re outside and it looks like rain, inflatables and any electrical machines such as blowers or food machines cannot get wet. Please watch the radar and put them away prior to rainfall.

After:
BE-good stewards of God’s blessings and courteous to the churches who use the trailer after you. You don’t want to be the church that finds the trailer in disarray so don’t leave it messy when you drop it off. Everything has a specific spot and should be returned to its proper place.
 
--Diane Sibcy serves as CABA's Block Party Trailer coordinator. Her husband pastors Impact Church, Lebanon.
Posted on September 3, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
This summer I visited South Asia. One city’s population tops 12 million making it a giga-city. And it is 99.9% non-evangelical Christian. The trip culminates an Acts 1:8 model for CABA pastors.
 
My director of missional leadership job description includes being active in my local church. For the past two years, I have served as Missions Committee
 
Chairman at Clough Pike Baptist. Josh Carter is the pastor. The committee caught the Acts 1:8 vision working among So. Asian Indians and the church adopted it.
 
Clough Pike now has an active partnership here in Cincinnati with a NAMB church planter. Last February, I led a team to Boston to work with the (only) So. Asian Indian (NAMB) church planter in Boston. These godly men are both from the same state in So. Asia, so in July, I led a vision team to what we’re calling Curry City, for security purposes.
 
This “Glocal” challenge started here in Cincinnati. So. Asian Indians are one of Cincinnati’s largest people segments. Who would the Lord have you engage here in Cincinnati, Boston, and around the world? There are 47 people segments in the Cincinnati Area, but only 11 are engaged. That means some 36 peoples have no one evangelizing among them.
 
When we contacted the IMB, the missionaries overseas said, “You’ll need to use No Place Left when you work in So. Asia.” The team that was traveling from Clough Pike was glad because we’ve all become NPL trainers in the past year. When we visited Boston, we trained that church in NPL methods.
 
Sitting at a coffee shop one day, I shared Three Circles with a Hindu man. He wanted to know more and gave us his contact information. But across from us was a local lawyer who was already a born-again Christian. He said, “That was fantastic hearing you witness like that! Can you teach me?!” So, he slid in next to me and for 45 minutes, I trained a brother who had never witnessed before how to share his faith and make disciples.
 
So, don’t just ask, “where” can I serve? Instead, try asking God “who” needs a witness here, there, and over there? You might just end up eating the best curry of your life!
 
-- Mark Snowden serves as the director of missional leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on August 19, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
Within 90 days of teaching 19 church members from several churches how to start a church, they had begun a biker church and a Hispanic church. A biker complained that the seminary had yet to send them a biker. And nobody in the training was very good at speaking Spanish. Nobody spent any money. Yet, this model is both simple and effective.
 
Here is how any church can start a new church. NAMB has a pipeline for planters and CABA is capable of helping with traditional church planting and even multi-site, which is now popular. And, available to your church through CABA is a process that is based on Acts and does not require funding. It’s like church planting for the rest of us. And it’s in seven steps that rely totally on the Holy Spirit.

1.    Prayerfully mobilize teams of two that go out to do the work of the Lord.
2.    Address lostness by understanding the people, area, or interests.
3.    Develop a master plan to help everyone be onboard and focused.
4.    Evangelize abundantly through relationship-building and follow-up.
5.    Gather new believers into small groups and meet whenever it suits them.
6.    Coach leaders from within the group including pastor and teachers.
7.    Mobilize believers from the new church to seek new people and places.
 
Church members doing the planting keep their membership and tithe in their sending church. Pastors serve as encouraging champions. As CABA’s coordinator for church planting, it is my role to coach and connect with them. Funds are budgeted by CABA to develop and support church planting teams of church members.
 
These types of church plants work anywhere as they are a biblical model. We’ve seen them fit a unique niche where church members do not have much disposable income – refugees earning minimum wages (peoples), low income apartment complexes and university students (places), and some groups associating around a unifying purpose such as bikers, shift workers, or truckers (interest).
 
Pastors might look for these seven characteristics that seem to fit successful apostolic disciple-makers:
a.    Highly relational outgoing people who make friends easily; joiners
b.    Maturing believers looking for “next”; risk-takers
c.    Those who are often restless and sometimes criticize the status quo
d.    Strong in faith and seeking ways to be spiritually more mature
e.    Often bite off more than they can chew; love being busy
f.    May appear capable, but might lead a pastor to not easily trust them
g.    Comfortable attending other churches and Christian events
 
The Apostle Paul would easily be identified as having a missionary gift. Right by his side on the Second Journey was Silas, who was a prophet. Timothy was very much a shepherd / teacher in his own right. And Luke evangelized through writing the Gospel and Acts. Each of those character qualities are captured in Ephesians 4:11 apostle, prophet, evangelist, preacher/teacher. Perhaps Paul remembered his effective missionary band (recorded in Acts 16) and recognized those leaders in Ephesus. Their purpose was to bring the church to maturity. And healthy things multiply.
 
In the Lord’s timing when you’re ready, a short manual is available from Snowden Ministries. The book is Workers in the Harvest: Missionary Training for Church Members. Write SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com.
Posted on August 5, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Disciple-making
The Supremes’ lead singer, Diana Ross, pleaded with her man not to leave her and go to another woman.
 
The lyrics of that 1965 hit cried, “Stop! In the name of love before you break my heart. Baby baby, I’m aware of where you go / Each time you leave my door / I watch you walk down the street / Knowing your other love you’ll meet.”
 
That’s how a lot of small group leaders feel when some of their participants begin to miss, look around for something else, and leave. They want to do anything it seems to keep everyone showing up.

But there’s something a bit more insidious lurking in some groups. An associate pastor of a church experimenting with Bible Storying said, “My group won’t do anything. Nothing!”

What’s a small group leader to do? Look carefully at those in your group. What if they stay and never bear fruit for the kingdom, continue living in disobedience to what Scripture commands, and even distract others from joining the group?

I once shut my small group down. After 18 months of no growth, lots of socializing, growing conflicts with the home group schedule, and prayer, my wife and I canceled our group. We simply encouraged them to go to other classes in the church. One couple continues and is very active. A single lady is now engaged to another young man she met in another small group. Another couple bounces from church to church.

It bothered me for months. No spiritual fruit and we were often regressing! We were doing so many things right. But fruit-bearing was getting irritating.

On March 22, 2015, USA Today ran an unusual-for-them article asking “Has the Sun Set on Sunday School?” The article used statistics from research by the Barna Group noting consistent decline in attendance across America. The expectations set for spiritual training in Sunday School were countered by other options ranging from racial divides in an increasingly diverse culture, other fun options, to increasingly sparse family time.

Actually getting someone to attend a small group is amazing in our culture. So, the idea of stopping a small group seems downright drastic. At least it takes thought.

But stop the small group we did and the kingdom of God has been better for it. I’ve invested in the lives of one couple that not only started a new young adult class using orality methods, but the teacher is also starting a Bible Storying group at the jail. And then my wife and I mentored a small group for three months. They are sold-out to start a new work in a Missouri community with no evangelical churches.

Jesus exhibited tough love. Luke 9:57-62 notes that some with good intentions also had their own conditions that prevented them from following Jesus as they should. Jesus would not relent on the conditions to follow Him. Neither should we. Getting buy-in on the front-end seems to be vital. It sets the DNA for the group.

Why was your small group started? What’s its current vision? What progress for making disciple-makers is being made by the participants?

A church planter in Illinois reported to the work group that I was in that he had to stop his small group. They had met for six months with no change, growth, or even sharing their faith. They were a Bible-centric social group that was content to just meet and “do life together.” They were hanging out around the status quo pole. Ouch. Life together with Jesus requires a different set of standards.

Perhaps instead of singing Motown’s lovelorn plea, we need to raise the bar on disciple-making and adopt the title from this country song by Bobby Harden, “All I Want from You (Is Away.)” Let’s keep striving to make disciples that make disciples to the glory of the Lord – and not just cower at the thought of losing someone.

It just might be the right thing to do in the name of Love.
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on July 15, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Evangelism
When I accepted Jesus as my Savior as a boy, I walked the aisle at the end of an evangelistic service. Someone filled out a card with my name and address and then the pastor presented me to the church. I was voted in as a member right on the spot pending my baptism.

Churches today are taking a closer look at how they receive decisions. Those who continue to live a lifestyle contrary to biblical teaching are being received under a form of “watch care.” They don’t have voting rights and cannot hold office, serve on committees, or be approved as a Bible study teacher. In some churches, this requires a change to bylaws and constitutions.

Counselors are on the frontlines of decision-making and follow-up. Just as we say in sports, “the best offense is a good defense,” so the best follow-up is good preparation. Prayer for revival and spiritual awakening saturate everything the counselor will ever do on behalf of the church. They must know how to lead someone to faith in Christ and use their own testimony when appropriate to do so.

It is important to be security-minded and sensitive to those who come forward. “Why have you come today?” is still the best question to use to greet people making decisions. A child may have come on a dare. A college student may admit looking for a place to meet a godly spouse. A man may want help paying his car payments. An older adult may want to be in a church where their children belong. And, of course, there are those who are making spiritual decisions with eternal consequences!

Listening is the key. My wife was a decision counselor in a church when we lived in another state. A woman came forward and the pastor nodded to Mary Leigh to accompany the woman to a counseling room. The married woman confessed to having an affair with a co-worker. My wife was coached to listen carefully and arrange a meeting with one of the church staff, which they did.

Children and students should not be escorted by an older man into a private counseling room. All they have to say is, “he touched me,” and, well, it’s over. Despite having had a godly reputation, it will be instantly ruined. Counseling with parents present is always advised or in a pinch, a front pew in the open is advised.

After the decision is made, and made public, new believers must be discipled intentionally. They may be carrying baggage from another religious background. “New Believers Following Jesus” is available free from my office. New believers need training in five areas: abiding with Jesus in prayer and worship, obedience beginning with baptism by immersion and stewardship, studying the Bible, loving others as part of active church life in and beyond the church, and telling others about Jesus as He commanded in the Great Commission.

Hal Seed pastors New Song Community Church, Oceanside, Calif. This SBC church has seen over 17,000 people come to Christ. Seed explained to a group of us that during their invitation time, they encouraged new believers to give fist pumps right where they stood if they made a decision. Trained counselors spotted them from the back and handed them a guide. They treated the first 20 minutes after their profession of faith as the most important time in the life of a new believer. Each of these counselors took the initiative to schedule meeting times the coming week.

Decision counselors have that immediate relationship that works perfectly for follow-up. Invite parents, spouses, or friends to join in, too. When you reinforce the decision and the Gospel message, they may follow Christ, too.  
I’m available to help you train your church’s decision counselors. (CABAdirector@gmail.com)
 
Mark Snowden is the Director for Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on July 1, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Evangelism
Is it possible to train church members as missionaries?
 
Jesus began His earthly ministry with laity from a variety of backgrounds. By the time the Holy Spirit indwelled them permanently in Acts 2, most of the disciples exhibited mission-specific transformations.

If Peter, who began with no missions training—and was likely illiterate—had jumped straight into ministry, he would have likely gone into humanitarian work doing something like helping people learn to fish. However, after being with Jesus and the Twelve, Peter developed speaking and leadership skills to the point that he carried authority to address very weighty issues.

Matthew was a tax collector and could have jumped straight into money management seminars, but after being with Jesus, he became a skilled writer, using his sharp mind for detail to capture, among other things, the Sermon on the Mount.
 
Mission-specific training is necessary for your church members to invest time to walk with the Master and determine where God is calling them to make a contribution. Training is delivered with an expectation that there will be functioning teams. The training may be done in a way that is highly reproducible using oral-friendly methods, too. Training should be so reproducible that those you train can pass it along, too. Complex training programs (usually literate worldview) have their place, but the priority should be upon the lost and not the comfort level of the missionaries.
 
When Jesus called His disciples in Matthew 10, He named the Twelve. Matthew records the names in pairs, not as individuals. In Matthew 10 and Mark 6, six teams of two were then sent out to the villages to seek a Man of Peace which would permit the duo time to stay in the village.
 
The Twelve who were Jesus’ disciples moved as a team and some clearly had specific roles. Teamwork counts. We’re not “lone wolves.”
• Andrew was akin to the evangelist, bringing people to Jesus (Peter and the boy with the lunch).
• Peter was a strategic leader, speaking often, defending the ranks, and addressing group dynamics of the early church (feeding widows, addressing greed, breaking through the barrier of the Law).
• Peter, James, and John formed an inner circle to Jesus (transfiguration).
• Thomas was a healthy skeptic, but willing to die with Jesus.
• Judas Iscariot was the group’s treasurer, likely dispersing funds to the poor.
• The other disciples were often the workers (picking up after the Feeding of the
5,000).
 
It cannot be overlooked that several women traveled with the Twelve. They maintained cultural roles at the time, which were not always those of servants, but also financial backers.
 
Jesus also prepared His men to move on to other villages if they were rejected. This event became an important experiential training event that Jesus reflected upon years later with the Twelve. In Matthew 10, Mark 6, and Luke 10, the disciples were initially expected to travel extremely light and be gone for a limited period of time. In the Upper Room discourse, Luke 22:35-36 records Jesus reflecting on the earlier mission and giving them a command to take not only clothes, but a sword.
 
Just prior to His Ascension, Jesus prophesied that His disciples would stay on the move beginning from where they were and extending to the ends of the earth. And as they went, they were empowered of the Holy Spirit not only to be witnesses (Acts 1:8), but to make disciples of all peoples they encountered (Matthew 28:18-20).
 
Your church’s evangelism teams will look differently working among certain categories of people, but their purpose remains the same – stimulate and nurture disciples who can reproduce themselves in the lives of others so that churches strengthen and new churches multiply. Their roles and specialized tasks must have three priorities: making disciples, multiplying churches, and developing leaders.
 
--Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on June 18, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
The Cincinnati Area Baptist Association exists to address lostness through pastors. CABA decided at its Annual Meeting October 2017 to no longer fund church planters in order to appropriate funds (about $100/mo.) into services that would benefit them rather than fund them. Here are several services that CABA is blessed to provide to church planters.
 
1.    CABA has employed a Network & Fellowship Coordinator, a Church Coach, and a Block Party Ministry Coordinator to augment the work of the Director of Missional Leadership. At the present time, the association’s ministry works through nearly 30 pastors and church leaders across the Cincinnati Area to benefit church planters and existing churches alike. Treating church planters the same as pastors in the association means being available to them for networking, coaching, and providing services to them as needs arise. Connecting to these quality resources is at no cost to planters. Financial support of CABA by the church plants is voluntary and appreciated.
 
2.    Prayer is always a priority for planters and pastors. CABA has an active prayer ministry with several dedicated prayer warriors ready to pray at a moment’s notice. Other prayer needs may be broader and may be shared, when requested, through CABA’s communications channels.
 
3.    Planters appreciate half-price rentals on trailers, tents, and food machines as part of CABA’s Block Party Ministry. The Trailer REservation SyStem (TRESS) is available to make reservations at www.CincinnatiBaptist.com and click on TRESS on the toolbar to get started. Included as a benefit is repairs at no cost to the planter. A delivery and pick-up service valued at $50.00 and mileage for the driver normally charged to churches is offered free to all SBC plants and charged to CABA instead.
 
4.    Church planters and their spouses are provided with free biblical counseling from licensed counselors with doctorates or masters in biblical counseling. This is billed at $100 per hour-long session directly to CABA with no charges to the planter.
 
5.    A free logo service is available to church plants to assist with their branding and image communication. A professional graphic designer(s) are available to work with the planter to convey the image that best represents their ministry. A fee of $100 per logo is charged to CABA instead.
 
6.    Networks – planters are invited to gather with CABA pastors for training, support, and fellowship. Networks are convened according to geography or covo / bivio status. Regional conveners are paid $100 per month by the association to facilitate peer learning, prayerful support, and fellowship. The Cincinnati Area has been divided into zones because a planter’s time is valuable and this association is physically large, covering nine counties. Each meeting usually includes a meal provided by CABA.
 
7.    Coaching – World-class coaching is available to help CABA planters break through barriers by developing strategy, structures, staffing, budget, and measures to enable the plant to achieve and sustain vitality. Coaching helps planters break through barriers by sticking to a plan rather than managing for the exception. Coaching also includes mystery guest and facilities assessment for free. The Coach is provided free to each planter and on a retainer of $1,000 per month by CABA.
 
8.    Fellowships are conducted at least quarterly to involve planters and sometimes their wives and children. Fellowships are planned for just the wives, too. The idea is to provide a break in different venues that a planter and his family may not be able to do on their own. Sporting events, park experiences, family fun nights, and other gatherings are typical of the fellowships provided to planters to give them, their wives, and families a sense of connectedness.
 
9.    CABA helps church planters keep planting more new churches. New churches are more likely to start a new church than a church that is five or more years old. CABA prioritizes an unfunded church multiplication approach through missionary teams of church members, bi-vocational members, and going multi-site. The whole association has become a church planting support system, including raising up indigenous church leaders, including new pastors.
 
10.    Funding for one-shot evangelism blitzes, mailings, and other community engagement is available.
 
11.    CABA’s Church Planting Teams Council stands ready to support any church that plants a new church on its own. That means the Council supports new church planting efforts started by a Southern Baptist church-related plant that is already underway in the Cincinnati Area. Information is provided to help prioritize next steps whether it is among a group like them or whether they must cross-cultures to work among some other group. This group is comprised of a pastor, a planter, and a family specialist. The Council provides a safe environment for strategy plan feedback, strategic funding for survey projects, evangelistic blitzes, and family helps such as parental workshops or marital counseling.
 
12.    New churches reach a point in which they are self-sustaining. At this point, usually when it is about three years after launching, churches are invited to enter a credentialing process to be received as a voting member of the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. A guide titled, “A Closer Look” is available to planters as early as possible to help them understand how they can become part of CABA’s missional community. The free guide addresses issues like tax-exempt status, which can save a church plant hundreds of dollars and many hours.
 
13.    CABA has found that No Place Left is a highly effective evangelism/discipleship training module that can start new small groups and churches. This training has been offered three times per year and an NPL Intensive offers advanced training for those who have gone through the initial training. This commitment includes six weeks of follow-up coaching after the initial NPL training.
 
14.    CABA supports church plants by helping them avoid dependency in their additional new church plants as their funding runs out. CABA’s commitment to church planting takes a long-term view. CABA is dedicated to rapid multiplication to be used of the Holy Spirit to win more lost and connect with more needs than a one-and-done experience. CABA provides coaching for laity, bi-vocational, and multi-site church planting. And CABA can guide individuals to participate with NAMB, too.
 
This association of SBC churches praises God for the church planters who are part of NAMB’s SEND City effort. We facilitate each chuch’s mission work among the lost through the funds provided by churches and plants. We always recommend giving 7% to the Cooperative Program (State Convention of Baptists in Ohio) and 3% to associational causes (Cincinnati Area Baptist Association) from the church’s undesignated receipts. The two entities are funded separately.
 
Checks written to SCBO go to 9000 Antares Ave., Columbus, OH 43240.
Checks written to CABA go to P. O. Box 54885, Cincinnati, OH 54254.
 
CABA is committed to doing everything possible for church planters to praise God through its relationship. It’s certainly not “us and them.” Planters are considered very much a part of CABA’s network of developing churches to the glory of God.
 
Mark Snowden
Director of Missional Leadership
Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
December 20, 2017, revised June 20, 2019
Posted on June 5, 2019 7:00 AM by Ken Slaughter
Categories: Prayer
When praying, we need a filter. When I was a child, a younger cousin was chattering on about nothing. My Dad interrupted saying, “Son, your tongue is loose on both ends isn’t it?” Decades later, it still makes me laugh! But then comes a sobering thought: Do I sometimes sound like that when I talk to God?

“Pray without ceasing” is not a call to “stream of consciousness” praying. God already know our thoughts, not all of which are worthy of prayer. Some thoughts should be screened out; others, refined and purified. Unceasing prayer is a call to raise our average spiritual aware-ness, resulting in more frequent and perceptive prayer.

As we “watch and pray” we gain understanding about what God is do-ing and what we should do. Prayer is part of a process of supernatural empowerment for insightful, holy action. Passionate prayers come when our hearts reach further than our natural abilities. Consider Anna and Simeon in Luke 2. Perhaps we must learn to care more before we can pray more.

It is bold of sinners to enter God’s holy presence at all. We can do so only because of the bloody self-sacrifice of our great High Priest. Guard your steps. Consider the effort David put into his carefully crafted prayer-songs. We may not be prayer artists, but we should be thoughtful.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says: "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few."
 
--Ken Slaughter serves as Prayer Encourage for CABA and pastors First Baptist, Mt. Repose.
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