We held our monthly All Church Prayer Hour at Portage Free Methodist last night. Prayer has been central to the church since day one (Acts 2:42 and beyond) but pfm was especially awakened again to the power of prayer about 15 months ago. We called an ad-hoc prayer meeting for the events leading up to Holy Week & Easter. Following that prayer time with about 30 people, we were blown away by all the great stuff God did, all undoubtedly tied to prayer. Since then, we’ve committed to the discipline of monthly group prayer beyond Sunday morning.
Sometimes only a dozen or less show up. Other times, we’ve see 20+. Around the office, we kinda joke that calling it “All Church” really means “Only Some Church”, but we gotta start somewhere, eh? Every prayer hour has brought about spiritual fruit. As a Pastor, I get a front row view of what happens when people seek God. It sounds kinda weird, but I can often tell when people are praying for me, for my family, for the other pastors, for Sunday mornings, for Small Groups, for Kids & Teens, for the community. I feel it. I value prayer because I see how God uses it to breathe life into me and others.
We are standing on the shoulders of those who have prayed before us. I think about that quite a bit these days as I look around and see what God has done because faithful people asked Him to move mountains. Given the front row view and the abundance of biblical instruction regarding prayer, you would think that I would be super excited about going to our monthly All Church Prayer Hour. (SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you think Pastors are perfect).
Yesterday was a long day that made me feel like doing everything but go to an evening prayer meeting. I came home, slumped like a bag of soggy oatmeal. I didn’t wanna go. No energy. No desire. Spent. Bleh. Done.
Emily saw me and strongly suggested that I take a quick nap before heading out again. During my half-sleep, I kept having dreams of strange demonic things. It could be that this was already on my mind, or it could be that the scripture about wrestling against dark forces is a reality that I experienced in that moment. Either way, I did not want to go to prayer but I knew I needed to go. So I went. Half awake, but I showed up.
Then came the throwing of the Prayer Meeting Lever. It goes like this: you show up, you start praying, others start praying. Then, about 10, or maybe 20, or even 30 minutes in, God’s presence becomes thick as people pray for the impossible while the Holy Spirit brings us to the awareness of His power. When you’re in God’s presence, it’s not hard to ask for the impossible — especially as the Spirit leads. Faith increases. Burdens dissolve. The Kingdom is in full view. Mountains move. We are moved.
That’s the Prayer Meeting Lever going from “meh” to “WHOA”. It has happened nearly every time. It happened last evening. I bet it’ll happen again.
I came into our prayer meeting half-dead and left fully alive. Nothing changed in my chemistry. No physical manifestation (Food, Protein Shake, Aerobic Exercise) took place. No, I didn’t take a little snooze while Clarence prayed. I just sat there and prayed. If anything, I should’ve just lumped out. Instead, I felt oddly energized. Big time.
Gang, that’s the power of prayer. I can’t cajol, arm twist, or even strongly nudge people to pray. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. But I can pray that the Holy Spirit cultivates a deeper desire for prayer in our personal lives, our families, and in our churches. God, do that.
If a room full of people are asking bold questions and making bold requests, I just have to think that something huge will happen. I’ve seen it. And I am confident that big stuff is just around the corner.
For our church, it’s a prayer about things like Vacation Bible School (VBS) — that every kid would either grow in Christ or would be introduced to Him for the first time. It’s a bold prayer that “a bunch of people will get baptized” and that our upcoming 3rd service will be planned out and brought to life by the wisdom and power of God. Bold, courageous, outrageous prayer. That’s what I want. I think that’s what God wants, too.
He may not answer with the same boldness, since He does these things according to His will and purpose. But we can boldly trust Him in that. Right? I mean… Amen?