Good Things Happened in our Prayers

Restoration,

I am grateful to God for our week of unceasing intercession.  Thank you for participating with such great anticipation.  I am writing with 2 quick updates and a longer reflection.

Ordination on Sunday at 3pm

We are grateful for the privilege of having shepherded 2 curates through the ordination process to priesthood:  Isaiah Brooms and Scott Buckhout.  They have been working, studying, observing, and practicing for 5 years!  Those years of preparation come to a fulfillment on Sunday at 3pm.  We invite you to witness their vows and celebrate their ordinations by praying and watching on our YouTube Live channel.  

The good things that happened while we prayed

Thank you for taking a few minutes to record what God said to you during your hour of prayer last week.  We had well over 200 responses and reading through them has been a rich experience.  The leadership team for our week of prayer anonymized them and posted them, here.  I commend them to you as a tangible reminder of God’s faithful companionship during our times of intercession.  

My Sunday night reflection at the end of our week of prayer

Last Sunday, at 5pm, we closed our week by receiving the Eucharist together and then worshiping through hour 169 (we got a bonus hour because of daylight savings time!).  Please find below the reflections I shared during that time of worship.  May they encourage us to keep praying!

-David

David’s Reflection on Good Things Grow through Prayer

Thank you for praying this week. 

We felt united and together, even as we were praying on our own.  I went to the Sign Up Genius multiple times a day to see who was praying, to say thank you God for their intercession!

It was special to have an hour dedicated to be with God and nothing else.  Because you had signed up.  Because it was on your calendar, you felt free to say no to everything else-  to sleep, to food, to work, to household responsibilities.  You made your decision ahead of time for what you would be doing during that hour.  And you were earnest in your prayer.  Thank you.  Perhaps you will keep reserving a regular hour to just pray?

Thank you to Endel Liias, Sandra Rushedge, Roland Binker, Erica Chapman, Sarah Pullen, Kate Liias, John Foote, Caneel Cotton, Liza Draper, and Nathan Dickerson for working on and leading this project. 

Themes of what we heard

  1. Joy:  Many of you weren’t sure what to expect in your hour.  Then you were surprised by how fast the hour went by.  You were relaxed and comforted by the structure of the prayer guide.  You loved praying the Psalms-  and the Psalms prayed us.  They gave us language for our anxieties, fears, hopes, and longings-  and you used that psalm language to describe what you heard from God.  Psalm 34 was referenced many times.  You loved the music.  Thanks to Endel for curating the playlist, for the songs he has been building into our corporate worship life.
     
  2. Our joy was fueled by anticipation of what is coming:
    You talked of new wineskins for prayer and the desire to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:19- to pray without ceasing, to give thanks in all circumstances, to not quench the Spirit, to listen.

    You prayed for new staff positions and the changes happening on our staff team.  You prayed for new vestry members, new small group leaders, new volunteers. 

    You acknowledge the reorganizing that is happening in our church that is happening because of COVID-19, because of racial injustice, because of vocational movement, and new opportunities to serve.  
     
  3. Anticipation can fuel our joy because over and over you declared the sovereignty of God. You trust Him.  Because of COVID.  Because of the election.  Because of racial injustice.  Because of the economy.  You kept coming back to God’s sovereignty and His trustworthiness.  ‘God’s been in charge for a long time and we can trust Him.’ “All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.’ Psalm 138:4-5

With joy, anticipation, and trust, I offer you 3 invitations as we come out of our week:

  1. Release clenched fists.   This image of opening clenched fists came up multiple times in the reflections.  So let’s do it.  Let’s open our hands.  Let’s weep instead of rage. Let’s confess our bitterness and resentment.  Let’s shed shackles.  Let’s pray boldly for darkness to be vanquished rather than just ‘good things to happen.’  

    As we unclench our fists, we will be released to love like the Father loves.  With the division politically, racially, and within families, there was a lot of sharing about the need to love in the way Christ calls us. We are supposed to be markedly different; salt and light. 
     
  2. Ask for humility.  Praying is fundamentally a humble choice.  It is by definition reaching out for help and acknowledging one’s limits.  Let’s be humble in everything.  Let’s seek the Lord.  Let’s invite others to seek the Lord.  There were multiple images of our church building becoming personified as the staircases became arms and embraced people who were coming to worship. Let it be.
     
  3. Be responsive.  When God nudges you, do it.  
    Someone wrote the following at the end of their hour of prayer.  It is a beautiful picture of responsiveness.  This is what it looks like to do what God says.

    “Reading the Psalm after 30 minutes of prayer and praise was a much more intimate experience than usual.  Somehow holding my bible at that point was a sacred experience.  It was a reminder that preparing my heart is really important, and that it takes time to do that. 

    During prayer and listening, the phrase “rest in the Lord” came to me and I thought on that.  I’ve been seeking rest lately, but on my terms (like hiding in a room watching netflix on my ipad).  Resting in the Lord brought to mind walking in the woods with any family members who wanted to come, so I paused to text my family I’d be going for a walk at the end of the hour.

    Also the video from Sunday’s service about Ninos con Valor came back to me with a calling to sponsor a child, so I did that right after my prayer hour.

    Of all the prayer topics, the one on relationships was what I felt most deeply.  It reminded me that many people are feeling lonely through the pandemic, and I should be proactive about nurturing those relationships.

May we all unclench our fists, practice humility, and respond quickly to everything God says.  Amen.  Let it be.