God tells us in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you…”

Are you ready for answered prayer? The reason we so often miss the miracles of answered prayer is that we aren’t looking and listening for them. You see the easy part of prayer for us is the speaking part—It’s much more difficult to show the patience needed to listen for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Many years before the events described in Luke 1:11-20, a young couple—Zechariah and Elizabeth—prayed and prayed for a son. Unexpectedly one day, as Zechariah is carrying out his duties as a priest in the temple, the angel Gabriel appears out of the blue and says, “‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard’” (NIV). Zechariah is nearly scared to death.

What would your reaction be? If the Lord sent an angel to say to you, “I have instructions to tell you your prayer has been heard.” Would you say, “Prayer? What prayer?” Perhaps 20 or 30 years earlier, shortly after Zechariah and Elizabeth were married, they wondered why God had given them no children. It turned out that Elizabeth was barren. Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed for a son, but the years go by and there is no sign at all that God is going to answer this prayer. So, they let that prayer request fade away—they just know it’s one prayer God isn’t going to answer.

On a day like any other, Zechariah is chosen by Lot for the high honor to burn the incense in the temple—We can be sure it is a day he has looked forward to as a high honor, and this is the moment God has chosen! Zechariah isn’t anticipating anything supernatural taking place, the burning of incense in the temple is normal and regular ritual he has witnessed many times. But suddenly, God appears through the angel Gabriel who says, “Your prayer has been heard.” Zechariah responds, “Prayer? What prayer?” “Oh,” the angel says. “You and Elizabeth prayed for a son.” “Oh, that prayer! Well,” Zechariah says, “that was 25 or 30 years ago.” “Well, your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will conceive.” Zechariah wasn’t ready. Are you? Are you waiting for God to answer your prayer? Are there prayers that you have long since taken off your prayer request list because you were sure God just wasn’t going to answer them?

Join us this week at Sedona United Methodist Church as the Rev. Fred Mast continues a summer series of messages focused on prayer in a message entitled “Ready or Not” focusing on the many scriptural examples of God answering the prayers of his people in unexpected ways at the most unexpected times. Sunday mornings we enter the spirit of worship at 9:30 am featuring meaningful and uplifting music, special times of prayer and passionate life changing messages designed to move you closer in your relationship with Jesus Christ and others. Immediately following worship, you are invited to stay and join us in our Fellowship Hall for our “Red, White, and Blue BBQ” featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, beans, and delicious ice cream treats. You’ll also experience the friendliest and best fellowship time anywhere.

Sedona UMC will be offering a new six-week adult study beginning July 10th, based on the New York Times Bestselling Book “The Circle Maker—Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears” by Mark Batterson. In this study we will hear the Legend of the Circle Maker who through the power of a single prayer saved a generation and changed the course of history. We will look at the trials and tribulations faced by the Israelites as they journeyed toward the promised land of milk and honey. We will study what the scriptures teach us regarding the power of prayer and how we can apply these biblical truths in our own lives. Two studies are planned—Tuesday mornings at 10:30 am at the church (110 Indian Cliffs Rd.), and Tuesday afternoons at 2 PM at the Gathering Place (1835 W. State Rte. 89A) in West Sedona. The entire community is welcome and invited—Please Call the church office for more details (928)282-1780.

We offer several weekly book and bible studies: Wednesday’s our Men’s Bible Study at 9am; and Thursday’s our Women’s Bible Study at 9:45am. So many great missions, ministries and events happening at Sedona UMC—Visit our website at us on www.sedonaumc.org and “Like” us on Facebook. We would love to pray for you!—Prayer requests may be submitted online or by calling us at 928-282-1780. We are conveniently located at 110 Indian Cliffs Road off the Back O’Beyond roundabout on Route 179 in Sedona. All are welcome at Sedona UMC—Come and grow with us!