Are you sure you've thought of everything you will need for this year's Feast of Tabernacles? Everything? All of us have repeatedly gone over lists of items we don't want to forget at this Feast. We remember all too clearly in times past leaving someone's Bible or offering envelopes 400 or 500 or more than a thousand miles away back home.
But in addition to these physical considerations, we need to add another item to our list — one often forgotten in some times hectic Feast schedules. To remember to stay close to God during the Feast. How? By maintaining your prayer life.
God delights in the prayers of "the upright" — of His people (Prov. 15:8). And our prayers to God can wield a lot of power. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (Jas. 5:16).
So what can you and I be praying about in relation to the Feast of Tabernacles?
Above all, thank God. Express to Him your gratitude for knowing about His plan and purpose, pictured in the Holy Days you are keeping. Thank Him that you are able to know the wonderful meaning of the Feast Thank God for making you part of His Church.
While you are enjoying the material abundance with which God has so richly blessed His people, show your appreciation for the food and accommodations He provides, and the beautiful scenery He allows you to see.
Thank Him daily for the Work He has raised up and for your part in it. Pray for the continued progress of that Work and for the continued unity and growth of the Church. Ask God to strengthen, uphold and guide His modern-day apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong, and all the Church's leadership.
Examine your life since the last Feast. Determine to eradicate all the remaining spots in your character and ask God for more power to overcome during the next year.
Pray that God will move everyone at the Feast to be living Christian examples. Request that God pour out His Spirit on all the services and feed His Church what it needs at this time.
Ask God to protect your brethren during the Feast and on their way to and from this Festival. Ask for the safety of God's ministers as they travel to the various Feast sites to expound God's Word to you.
Take special interest in the cases of those people you hear are having problems — sicknesses, accidents or other difficulties. Ask God to intervene on their behalf — to heal and comfort them and give them the strength to bear their trials.
Pray that God will bless the fellowship — that He will ensure the success of the various activities and help everyone enjoy themselves in a godly manner.
And ask God to show you what to pray for and to help you pray in the proper manner and attitude. Paul wrote that Christians should "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Phil. 4:6). Remember Christ's promise, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matt. 21:22).
As Christians we are to be growing more like God each day, and a major part of that development process involves prayer.
This Feast of Tabernacles is God's Feast, as Leviticus 23:1-2 and other scriptures show. And since all things were created for God's pleasure (Rev. 4:11), your Creator expects to derive happiness from this Festival in which you are taking part. One way you can help Him do that is through your prayers, because they are sweet incense to Him (Rev. 5:8). Your prayers are pleasing to God. So remember to thank Him for everything and make the spiritual power of prayer a central focus of the 1980 Feast of Tabernacles.