Jan4WedJanuary 4, 2017
Right after Christmas, we took our four children to an indoor waterpark in order to rest and play together as a family. The older two children were thrilled. The younger two were nervous. It took our twins quite a bit of time to get used to the temperature of the zero-depth pool but it was the noise that overwhelmed Abram. After a lot of screaming, I was finally able to calm him down by holding him close to my chest as we floated around the lazy river. Eventually he sat up and carefully held onto the handles of the inner tube. However, his demeanor did not move much beyond cautious optimism. There was still a lot about this water experience which was way beyond his comfort zone.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “a praying church”? Does that excite you or fill your mind with images which are overwhelming?
I ask this at the beginning of 2017 because I believe that God’s desire for FMC in the year ahead is for us to grow substantially in prayer. However, growing in prayer (and enjoying it) often strikes people as something that is overwhelming, nerve wrecking and way beyond their comfort zone. Therefore, I’m not surprised that only a dozen people have sporadically joined us for our monthly prayer meetings over these last three months.
Whether we admit it or not, we can easily say to ourselves, “Some people may get a kick out of praying, and it might be for some churches, but I’m fine just where I am. I really don’t need to be a ‘pray-er!’” Spending a few minutes in reverent silence before God seems just as appalling and uncomfortable as an infant listening to the noise of a water park! Our flesh would rather run in the opposite direction! Yet it doesn’t mean that’s what we ought to do. Nor does it mean that prayer is only about silence...or being uncomfortable.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to study the various teachings and habits of Jesus on the subject of prayer. This will stretch all of us, including myself, beyond our current threshold.
However, I don’t believe for a moment at simply doing a sermon series on prayer will bring about substantial change in our prayer lives.
We need two other elements - fresh movements of the Holy Spirit and new habits. If you want to see FMC become a praying church, please join me in praying for the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts corporately and individually. I have been on my knees interceding on your behalf over this very subject.
I also invite you to consider our 20 x 20 challenge for 2017. Would you be willing to spend 20 minutes a day in Scripture and prayer (weaving those together however you’d like) and spending 20 minutes once a month praying with some spiritual friends? Hopefully that doesn’t sound too overwhelming to you.
You see…if you and I are faithful to seek the Lord and He responds by sending His Spirit afresh, it is possible that we will become cautiously optimistic enough to say that we enjoy praying together - even if it’s currently way beyond our comfort zones.