“What’s happening in your church or in your ministry that’s really, really good?”
I get that asked that question quite frequently. Other preachers from other churches, distant relatives, people I don’t see that often and some people I visit with all the time are increasingly asking me this question.
“What’s something good, something positive and encouraging, that’s happening in your church?”
Two things. I always lead off with these two things: Small Groups and Legacy Morning Prayers.
Legacy Morning Prayers began in December as an effort to be more available as elders and ministers to pray with and for the people of our church family and our community. Every weekday morning, on a rotating schedule, our shepherds and ministers are here in our worship center, lifting up to God the prayer requests of our congregation and those that come in over our church website. The folder is thick. The requests are many. The hour is almost not long enough.
We want everyone in our congregation to participate. The worship center’s open every weekday morning. There’s a shepherd and/or a minister in there to pray with you and for you every weekday morning. We want people from the community — those driving by our flashing sign on Mid-Cities Boulevard, those reading about Morning Prayers on our website —to join us so we can pray for them and with them.
We want this to be an aid to strengthening our bonds in Christ. Increased unity and fellowship. A way to facilitate the love and mercy of God in Christ to a hurting church and a hurting community.
There’s no better way to get to know your brother or sister in Christ than to spend an hour with them in prayer. Listening to each other’s hearts, listening to each other’s thanksgiving, participating in each other’s suffering and pain. I’m always overwhelmed by the lists of requests. Real people. Real families. Real diseases and death. Real divorces and unemployment. Real moms and dads. Real grandparents. Real kids. Real relationships. Real reaching out to God for his comfort and peace, his healing and forgiveness.
I’m encouraged every time my turn comes up. I love praying with my church family. Quincy’s teaching me how to talk to God like a true best friend. Rick is showing me what it looks like to give God full and unabashed praise and thanksgiving. Jesse is modeling for me humility and awe in the presence of our Holy Father. Paul confesses his sins. Bob prays like a shepherd. Keith calls on God to be accountable to his promises.
I love Legacy Morning Prayers. And you would, too.
Allright, I’ll finish Tell It Slant before I go to bed tonight. I want to give you one more quick passage from Eugene Peterson’s latest book, this on prayer. It fits.
Prayer is not begging God to do something for us that he doesn’t know about, or begging God to do something for us that he is reluctant to do, or begging God to do something that he doesn’t have time for. In prayer we persistently, faithfully, trustingly come before God, submitting ourselves to his sovereignty, confident that he is acting, right now, on our behalf. We are his “chosen ones,” and don’t ever forget it. God is, right now — the word is “quickly” (Luke 18:8) — working his will in your life and circumstances. So keep praying. Don’t quit.