19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22 (ESV)
“PRAYER! Really, is that the best you could come up with, Vision Team?” The vision Team joked a bit about the prayer emphasis we are setting for the next year: “It will never fly. People want to see action. We need to roll out some major changes.” But we kept coming back to prayer – or maybe more accurately, God kept bringing us back to prayer. He wants us to commune and communicate with Him – a privilege that Jesus has made possible for us by opening a ‘new and living’ way into God’s presence (Heb. 10:19-22).
In the next several months, as we move forward in our revitalization process, prayer will be at the top of our “to-do” list. We will be introducing and implementing other initiatives as well, but expect to be challenged in the area of growing in our corporate and individual prayer lives.
“Why?,” you ask, “Don’t we pray enough – in the services and in our homes?” Perhaps. This is not meant to be an indictment on anyone’s prayer life. But, if you are like me (a sinner saved by grace, that is), then establishing a consistent prayer life is a constant challenge. Here is the reality: Church renewal will never come - and certainly won’t be sustained – if prayer is not the #1 priority within our church.
It needs to be at the very core of our spiritual DNA. Some people may not consider prayer to be essential in life and have no prayer life to speak of. Others may simply feel they don’t know how to pray and are longing for
someone to teach them to pray. No matter the current state of your prayer life, I think we all can agree that we are not where we should be, and we need to be growing in our prayer lives.
Here is what the Vison Team wants to do in the coming months: Encourage, teach, and offer our members various opportunities to pray. We will be adding a Friday evening prayer time similar to what we do on Wednesdays at noon. It will be a time to come and pray in the sanctuary – sometimes in silence and sometimes joining with others in prayer. On Communion Sundays, our elders will be available to pray for and with you and your family right after the benediction is given. Starting in a few weeks, I am beginning a sermon series on prayer. We will be introducing other prayer initiatives as well.
You may still be thinking that the Vision Team needs to be doing something more - something much bigger – than focusing on prayer. If that is how you are feeling, let me suggest that you do this: Pray about it. I don’t say that flippantly, either. Take a little time right now, and bring it to the Lord. Listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say. The members of the Vision Team believe that the Spirit has given us clear direction that we are to pursue this emphasis on prayer. And we are convinced that the Holy Spirit will lead our church in this same direction and will bring us to the place where we will see the need to grow in this grace of prayer.
In God’s Glory,