I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus! One of the things I love about Christmas is that it brings not only a greater appreciation for what Jesus did in his first advent, but a greater anticipation for what Jesus will do at his second advent.
Now that Christmas is over, most of us are thinking about what the future holds for next year. Let’s admit it. It’s been a hard year. Politically, our country is incredibly divided. There are racial tensions that have flared up in heartbreaking ways. There is an international refugee crisis that the world has still not figured out how to handle. On top of all that, there are struggles and burdens that are plaguing our personal lives and families.
What do we do with all these problems? Will we shrink back in cynicism or despair? Will we dull the pain with our drug of choice (i.e. TV, games, eating, working, shopping, worry, etc.)?
As a Christian, I have come to realize more and more that spiritual strongholds can only be destroyed with spiritual weapons. What we need more than anything is more of God. We need revival. Not just for “those evil people out there” but for the evil in my own heart. Revival starts when God’s people are convicted of their own sin and cry out to God in repentance. Revival starts when we cry out to God to move in ways that only he can.
In other words, revival starts with prayer. As a church, we are strongest when we are on our knees.
As your pastors, we have a conviction. The conviction is simply this: Grace should be a praying church. The question we have been asking ourselves is how are we doing?
There is already a lot of encouraging marks of us being a praying church. But, we also know that we will never “arrive.” Prayer is something that nearly everyone feels a level of inadequacy. I know I do. I have regular times of prayer during any given week. But, I confess that I wish I prayed more. I wish I prayed better. My guess is that many of you feel the same way.
Paul tells us: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2). I don’t know about you, but I know I have work to do in this area. And we do as a church, as well. I have a vision that Grace would be a church that is devoted to prayer. That everything we do would be saturated in prayer. Prayer is our life-line to God. I long for us to be a church that is earnest and hungry to talk (and listen) to our Heavenly Father.
Maybe a healthy question to ask yourself at the end of a year and the start of a new year is this: Am I a praying Christian? Clearly that involves praying for personal needs and growth, but also entails praying for and with the body of believers in our church family.
That’s why we have made a commitment to ring in every new year with a week of prayer. This year, our week of prayer begins on Sunday, January 1, 2015. There will be no ABC or children’s SS classes. Instead, we will have a time of corporate prayer in the gym. All are invited to participate. The focus of the service and message on Sunday morning will be prayer.
In addition, we have scheduled a time of prayer for each day of the following week (the meeting times and location are listed below). Each prayer time will last approximately 30-60 minutes and will be led by one of the pastors. Everyone is invited to attend these prayer sessions. You can come and go as your time allows.
The week will culminate with a church-wide prayer meeting on Sunday, January 8 at 5 PM.
This is for everyone who is a part of our church family. This prayer service is very important to our church, so please make it a priority to attend this special prayer meeting.
One of our challenges to you as a church this week is this: What prayer meeting this week can you attend that will involve a sacrifice?
We wanted to share this with you ahead of time so you can plan your schedule accordingly. Our goal in all this is to ignite a fire of passionate and persistent pursuit of God in prayer. We believe God can do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Would you boldly pray with me that God would do extraordinary things through our church?
We love you church and are looking forward to the incredible things God wants to do in and through us as we seek God’s face together.
Grace and peace,
Sunday, Jan. 1:
9:30 AM (GBC Gym)
Monday, Jan. 2:
9:00 AM (Jireh Place)
Tuesday, Jan. 3:
12:00 PM (Jireh Place)
8:30 PM (Jireh Place)
5:15 PM Church-wide Meal and Prayer (GBC)
6:00 PM (GBC)
Thursday, Jan. 5:
12:00 PM (Jireh Place)
7:30 PM (Jireh Place)
Friday, Jan. 6:
12:00 PM (Jireh Place)
Saturday, Jan. 7:
8:00 AM (Jireh Place)
Sunday, Jan. 8:
5:00 PM Church-wide Prayer Meeting (Jireh Place)