The first Sunday of the year we did something that I read Jim Cymbala does at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Instead of a study we had prayer. Instead of worship and study it was worship and prayer. People dug it so much that they said we should do that at least twice a year. I thought this year we’d give three a try. Today was round two. It was pretty cool.
Our fellowship does the set-up/tear-down thing every Sunday. We don’t have out own space we can use whenever we want. If we want to pray as a group we have to do it when we are together. We’ve been going through Acts (for over a year now) and we’ve seen the church pray with power. We want that. I want that.
Because our folks are kind of inexperienced in the area of praying in front of or with people I do a kind of directed yet open prayer. Going into it I pray about what the Lord might have us focus on and scripture that teaches or illustrates that. Once I have a handle on that and it’s time to pray this is kinda what we do. I walk through what the morning will kinda look like so people know what to expect. I have two people, a man and woman, designated as people to go to in case someone believes they have a word from the Lord or a passage to share. Kind of a spiritual check and balance thing. Now we are ready to roll.
I read through the first passage and do a micro teaching on it and what it is in it we are to pray about. Then it’s open. Anyone can pray about that passage and what the Lord laid on their heart. For example, the fist passage was just Acts 4:24, “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,” I felt that we needed to start today off lifting up the Lord. Then people pray to that effect. Two or three usually. It isn’t limited, that’s just usually how many people end up praying.
The morning was going along groovy. We prayed about John 17 where Jesus prayed for us and our one-ness in Him, with Him, and in the Father. We prayed Acts 2:37-39, repentance and the promise of the Spirit. We prayed about 2 Peter 1:2-10 and the need for our individual growth, prayed that we would not be barren and unfruitful in our knowledge of Him. We prayed Matthew 16 where Jesus said he will build His church.
The night before this I was reaching Pastor Chuck’s new book on prayer (you gotta read it). The part I finished last night was Chuck talking about praying for our unbelieving friends and family. We can’t just pray for the world to get saved. We need to be specific in our prayer. I knew I wanted to have this be a part of our time together today but I wasn’t sure how to do it. The Lord led me to Romans 6 and the bit about being slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness. We are slaves to someone. But with so many people with so many unsaved loved ones I didn’t know how to do this.
Then, like it’s a big surprise, inspiration struck. I read the passage and shared the point of it, praying for the lost we love. I told everyone that I was going to pray and that when I was done, people could simply say the names of their loved ones, friends, families. Just names being called out. I’m telling you, when names started to trickle out, something entered the room that wasn’t there before. Mom’s saying kids names. Adults saying parents and siblings names. Kids saying the names of their friends at school. You could sense God’s presence in the room as we lifted up the lost. It was powerful. We ended the time with communion before going for it with Family Dinner (aka potluck).
Next time we might try breaking up into groups. It kind of depends on if there are people comfortable enough to lead groups. But for now we are scheduled for the first Sunday in September. Anyway, I encourage you guys to do something like this. I know it isn’t typical CC to substitute a prayer meeting for the word. But I figure the mini devo covers the teaching element. We even had three guests today (family from out of town, but that counts). Anyway, there it is.