“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” ~Ephesians 6:18
Were your ears burning between 9:00 and 10:00 Friday night April 18?
A couple of weekends ago all of the elders and ministers here at Legacy spent about 24 hours together at a retreat center down in Glenrose. Most of Saturday was spent in sharing our dreams and our goals for the body of believers at Legacy. What do we want to do for the rest of this year and next? What is God ultimately doing with us? Where do we see things in five or even ten years from now? We spent some time talking about vision and thought processes. The day was filled with much open discussion relating to relationships between elders and ministers and within the leadership team.
I’ve been thrilled since Day One to be Legacy’s preacher. I’ve said before, I don’t feel led or guided by God to this place as much as I feel pushed by God to this place. I’m affirmed every week by our Father that he is doing amazing things with us and through us in our part of his Kingdom. But I’ve never been more confident and more thrilled to be a part of this congregation than I was during this retreat.
And it had more to do with what happened Friday night than with what happened Saturday.
As great as Saturday was—I plan to share much more of that with you later this week—Friday’s experience was even better. Because we prayed. We prayed long. We prayed hard. We prayed together. We prayed for each other. And we prayed for every single man, woman, and child in the Legacy church family.
We split up into groups of two and three, ministers and elders, and prayed together for about an hour. A pictorial directory had been desecrated; sacrificed for our prayer time. We were each given a couple of sheets out of the directory with all the names and all the pictures of all our brothers and sisters in Christ. And then we went off to each others’ rooms to pray.
I wound up in my room with Bob Robertson and Don Savage and the names and pictures of almost 170 Legacy members. And after we each prayed for each other, we turned our attention to our church family.
And I love praying this way.
Looking at the faces and lifting the names to God in prayer, I was reminded of 1) how much I’m blessed to know so many of these great people and 2) how so many of our people are struggling with their own issues and problems.
Carrie-Anne and I spent a lot of time between August ’06 and June ’07 praying that God would bless our daughters with great friends here at Legacy. And four or five times in that room Friday night, those families popped up on my list. These answers to prayer, these moms and dads and sweet, precious girls that God has put in our paths; what a blessing! Other men and women who have especially encouraged me since we’ve been here popped up on my sheet; men and women who go out of their way to compliment me and push me and challenge me and keep me focused and on track. What a blessing! And I praise God for these wonderful people and for the opportunities we share together in the Kingdom. And over and over again, men and women and families who are struggling with serious health issues, financial concerns, and ruptured relationships popped up on my list. I’m encouraged by their perseverence in those struggles and their faith in the face of hardships. And what a blessing to intercede for them to our Father in prayer!
There’s something very, very special about praying like this. Praying like this creates permanent bonds between the people you’re praying with and the people you’re praying for. I see Don and Bob differently now after hearing them pour out their hearts and their souls to God in prayer. You learn more about people by praying with them for one hour than you can ever learn in a lifetime of singing together or going to ball games together. Spend one hour with a couple of people in deep, earnest prayer, and I think it’s impossible not to love them more.
There was a ten-month window between the day Legacy hired me and the day I actually began my full-time work here as the preacher. I was still finishing up school down in Austin and only got up here once a month. So the first thing I did was ask the church here to provide a pictorial directory and ask everyone in the church family to write their prayer requests next to their families names and pictures. They mailed the directory to us and Carrie-Anne and I spent those next ten months praying over those names and pictures. We spent ten months with our God, talking to him about those in this church who had lost loved ones, those who were battling cancer, those who were facing important job decisions. Some people are surprised at how well we know everyone’s names here. And I always tell them, I prayed for you for ten months. I was bonding with you for ten months and you didn’t even know it.
In 1895, E. M. Bounds wrote, “Prayer does not prepare us for greater works, it is the greater work.”
Sometime this summer we’re going to organize a 24 Hours of Prayer here at Legacy like we’ve done in Mesquite and Marble Falls. Men of our congregation will sign up in one-hour shifts and pray in groups of four and five over thousands of prayer requests from our church family and our community. It might be the most powerful thing you’ll ever do with a Christian brother.
Whitney and I had the talk yesterday afternoon. She understands about Josh Howard. She gets it. We’re going to go together one day next week and get her a Dirk jersey. Lucky for me all Mavericks gear is now half price.