Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Crying "ABBA" - Continuously
An Article by Paul Miller Submitted by OFC ReFocus Prayer Director, Roger Sorensen (Printed with Permission from Tyndale (NavPress))
I was listening to the discussion at a staff meeting when our consultant said, “Paul is so quiet. He doesn’t seem to be passionate about anything, except maybe the person of Jesus.” I smiled, partly because it was funny and partly because on the inside I am like Barney Fife, the nervous deputy on the old Andy Griffith Show. My mind churns with ideas, and my mouth is eager to assist.

So why did I appear so calm? Because I was praying, quietly to myself, over and over again: Father, Father, Father. At other times I will pray the name of Jesus or the name Christ. Sometimes I find myself praying a short phrase, such as Come, Spirit.

This is not a mindless chant I practice in order to reach some higher spiritual plane. Just the opposite. I realize I’m on a low spiritual plane, and I am crying out for help like a little child who runs to his mother saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” My heart is hunting for its true home. David captured the feel of the praying soul in Psalm 63:

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps 63:1)

Why am I quietly crying out for help? My tendency to interrupt in staff meetings is a “dry and weary land.” When I feel my inner Barney Fife crying out for attention, I pray quietly, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Like Augustine, my heart is restless, and I need to find my rest in God.

I’m at my worst when I’m passionate about a new idea. I can drift into selling instead of listening and can easily become dominating. My heart is a dry and weary land. But when I begin to pray, the energy of my life is directed into the life of God and not into changing people’s minds…and I shut up!

When someone shares an idea that was originally mine, I want to mention that I first thought of it. I feel unsettled, as if the universe is out of balance. In short, I want to boast. The only way to quiet my soul’s desire for prominence is to begin to pray: Apart from you I can do nothing.

Interrupting, selling, and boasting are just a few of the things that draw me into continuous prayer, into continual childlike dependence on my Father. Each of us has our own list. We can let it drive us into a praying life. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


(An Article by ReFocus Prayer Director, Roger Sorensen) 
From the infancy of humankind until this very day, Father God has been speaking to His created children. He has done and will do absolutely anything to have a really fine conversation with them. In fact, He wanted that conversation so much that He stepped down from heaven to earth to speak in the simplest, most natural, most non-threatening way: through the coo of a baby.

There are those who respond immediately, who caress the words, learn them, speak them back to God, speak them forward to friends, family, even strangers and enemies. On the other hand, there are those who reject the words as too simple for who they think themselves to be, certainly for who they aspire to become.

Of course, all who listen and practice the language become more and more adept. They speak with God more and more often until Father and child are conversing without ceasing. They attend classes in Matthew 6 where they learn from God’s own Son how to converse with the Father: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your kingdom come soon…”

Jesus’ teaching on how to pray is transformative for everyone who walks under its authority. In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus teaches how to mobilize good deeds for maximum value. (Yes, Lord, yes! Don’t let us waste time doing “good” for wrong reasons!)

Matthew 6:5-6 teaches the value of mobilizing secret prayer. (Lord, may our emphasis always be not that we prayed but that you answered. How great you are!)

Verses 7 and 8 call us to mobilize our confidence in God’s eagerness to answer prayer. (Lord, may we always think the best of you. Forgive us for our sometimes weak faith in your character. Take us again to the cross, Lord, and steady us with memories of your great love.)

Matthew 6:9-13 command that we pray in complete dependence upon the Lord. (When we were toddlers, about three years old, we probably said, “ME do it!” Lord, help us to grow up in you and, with our eyes wide opened, say, “Lord, I still need you; oh, how I need you!”)

Verses 14 and 15 call us to mobilize right attitudes of forgiveness. (Lord, I desire to be like you. Tattoo on my mind the number “490.” Let me forgive the one who has wronged me seven seventies – in one day, no less!).*

Imagine if each child of God at Orange Friends Church were to converse regularly with the Father on behalf of renewal and growth in our church body. We would each begin with ourselves, bow before God’s throne, declare our absolute dependency on His grace and gifting, and pray, “Father, renew my mind and heart because I am weak.”

* If you want to continue studying Matthew 6 as we have begun it above, make a list of the weaknesses you can mobilize and bring to God for His transformation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


(An Article by OFC ReFocus Prayer Director, Roger Sorensen)

Christians do believe it. The entire and elaborate work of God’s salvation from “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4) is gathered up and made complete in his birth, life, death and resurrection from the dead -- a miracle of staggering proportions. This is the God sent “Son of God!” His name is Jesus.

Scripture tells us that He is the “Christ”, a title that tells us He is God’s anointed One whose rule will bring the whole universe to salvation and oneness with God the Father.

He is God among us with a purpose. Yes! It is a fact that He is God among us today, speaking to us in the same language we learned from our mother’s knee.

You might think that believing Jesus is God among us would be the hardest thing. It is not. It turns out that the hardest thing is to believe that God’s dazzling work, the cascade of blessings, are all being worked out within our human lives!

Pastor…You mean in me?…In my life? Yes. Yes, the “I AM” is with you now.

Yes, the Father makes sure that Jesus’ work is going on at picnics, around dinner tables, in conversations, while walking along the roads, when we ask difficult questions, and in the lives of the blind, beggars, lepers, at weddings and funerals.

Every part of Jesus’ identity is meant for us on earth, in your life and in spite of all your weaknesses. No fireworks. No special effects. Yes there are miracles, plenty of them. But His miracles are so much a part of our common life --- because every “I AM” Jesus has spoken, “Resurrection,” “the Way,” “Bread,” etc., is always available to us in real-time, wherever we are. All that Jesus is, is present now for us.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

God Mobilizes Weakness (An Easter Message)

Christmas and Easter merge today. Think briefly about Christmas. The Father sent His Son to earth in a most incredible way -- the ordinary way, a natural birth! The wisdom of God put to shame the wisdom of humankind when His Spirit sparked conception in the womb of a young woman. This woman, Mary, gave the weakness of her body, of her social status, of her future reputation into the strong arms of the one and only Almighty God; and this God gave His only Son to live and die and, thus, to break Adam’s death curse. On Christmas, deity and humanity lay in an ox’s manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

One woman’s offering herself to God’s seemingly impossible purposes resulted in God’s uniting full deity and full humanity in His only Son, Jesus the Christ. Because of Mary’s obedience, God mobilized her weaknesses; and Mary received the promise that the child to be born would be “called holy, the Son of God” (Lk.1:35).

On this Resurrection Sunday, let us be keenly aware that like His mother, Jesus was fully human with weaknesses and limitation. Jesus needed His Father’s strength throughout His days on earth. He said, “Whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:50). The student is not greater than the Teacher. The lamb is not the Shepherd. The pot is not the Potter. The sinner is not the Savior. When we give God who and what we are and have, He mobilizes our weaknesses with His strength.

The way back to God is Christ’s expensive gift -- His 100 percent human body hanging bloody on the cross of God’s anger. Three days after His death, Christ’s 100 percent weak human flesh burst from swaddling strips and through a closed grave into full view. Because God the Father had fully accepted Christ’s offering for sin, we have the promise that “everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43).


Roger Sorensen
ReFocus Prayer Director, Orange Friends Church