The first full week of the year was set aside by the Assemblies of God as a week of prayer. Our church already has Monday Night and Tuesday Morning prayer. During this week, they also had prayer time during the lunch hour of each day along with a service Friday Night. The Wednesday Night and Sunday morning Service had a special emphasis on prayer as well. It has been powerful. I did not go to as many of the meetings as I would’ve liked. Of course, Otis was present at all of them. The kids and I joined him for the Friday afternoon prayer time. This Sunday was the service that had the most people in attendance. There were prayer cards available for everyone to take, fill out, and then return to the table that was in the front of the sanctuary. The next part of the service included everyone coming back up to the table and getting a card to pray over. There were no names on the cards, just requests/visions/dreams/goals. After spending a few moments praying over the card that you had picked up, you once again returned it to the table. The last portion of the service was that everyone came up and gathered around the table and prayed over the stack of cards. People were praying as a whole over the needs and visions of our church as we enter this new year.
God can really speak to you through prayer. It’s amazing what a difference just devoting a little extra time to your prayer life can make. Taking time to pray and listen for the voice of God can make a life-altering difference in your home, family, and ministry. The past couple of years, prayer has really become a bigger part of my life. I have been in church my entire life, so praying is quite normal. Unfortunately, it can sometimes almost become routine. Something has been different the past couple of years though. Our prayer life as a family has gone to a different level. It is more than just praying daily. I mean really making it a priority. Our kids are now so accustom to prayers before bed ( not ‘now i lay me down to sleep’, but real prayers with needs prayed over) that they will not go to sleep without having prayer time. Our six year old has been asleep in the car on the way home from somewhere and barely stumbled into his room to climb into bed, and then you hear “daddy, we didn’t pray yet” or “we need to pray before I got to sleep”. No matter how tired you are, you cannot help but smile at that. That is more than creating a habit- that is building faith and character. Prayer is vital
So back to Sunday Morning as we are all gathered around that table prayer over the pile of cards, I felt like God was whispering to me that faith is not a spectator sport. We have to be in the game. It is easy to complain and judge and have an opinion…. real easy. It is easy to talk and dwell on what is not being done or how you think things should be handled differently. I was standing there surrounded by people thinking “ok, God. Why are you telling me this? We do so much already…” My memory went back to previous times this year when I had grumbled. It has been a hard year for our city- we faced the tragic Emmanuel Church Shooting, we were hit by tornadoes, and there was the record breaking flooding. I remember complaining to my husband that I didn’t feel like we had done enough as a church during these times. But God was asking me what had I done. Had I started the conversation about organizing something or attempted to help start anything? nope. I saw the need and waited for someone else to do something and when they did not, then I had an opinion about it.
We need to do better. I need to do better.
Seeing the need does not mean that you have to do it alone. We are the body of Christ- everyone has a purpose. Everyone has their own giftings and talents.
My goal is to go into this new year with eyes and ears wide open. There are opportunities for ministry all around us. Don’t overlook the small ways to make an impact– sometimes they bring forth the best results. They may not be the same ways that we have ministered in the past. Today is a new day, and God is up to something fresh and new. Be open to His voice…even if and especially if it takes you out of your comfort zone. The end results will be worth it.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT