A few weeks ago, I invited all to join me, beginning January 1in the 28-day Prayer Experiment from the resource Dynamite Prayer (). One of the many insights from the twenty-eight days was the opportunity to have an intentional daily prayer focus. And it was not simply a focus on my wants and needs, it was an opportunity to invite the work of God’s Spirit into my daily living and pay attention for how God’s faithfulness emerged. I was so moved by the experience; I have begun the 28-days again for the month of February. Additionally, next week, a group of leaders will begin the journey of examining the insights from the book, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? by Phillip Yancey over the next few months. Again, as I shared in months’ past, that we will “Pray our Way in 2023”.
This understanding of prayer is put into greater perspective from the entirety of Philippians 4, but specifically when reading verses 6-7:
“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”-Philippians 4:6-7 (AMP)
In reading these verses, I am reminded of spending time with the matriarch of my home church, Miss Mary Franklin, who was 88 years young, at the time. I would lament to her about all my mid-twenty-year-old life issues, and wanted her to always pray for me, because she was a prayer warrior. After several times of coming to her (with some of the same issues), she made this simple statement I have carried with me for years, Miss Mary said, “Don’t waste your time praying, if you are still going to worry. You will either trust God, or not!” I have never forgotten these wise words, because for her, if we were going to pray, she trusted God to handle the process and the outcome. Miss Mary passed away several years ago, but I remembered at her funeral, the consistent sentiment regarding her living was she was a woman that “worried about nothing and prayed about everything.”
What would it be if we took on that same understanding as Miss Mary, perhaps prayer would become our first response, rather than a reactionary one? What would it be if we applied Philippians 4:6-7 into our daily life’s rhythms, our meetings’ agendas, and our decision-making practices, how could there be lessor worrying about unknowns and greater trust in the known faithfulness of our Sovereign God? I would wonder, what it would be like to experience a sense of peace because we entrusted the process and outcomes to God, and was dedicated to being committed in our spiritual disciplines, diligent in living out our discipleship, and devotedly responsible as faithful followers of Jesus Christ? As Bishop Trimble is regularly quoted to say, “Little prayer, little power, much prayer much power.”
Lastly, I imagine that many congregations are leaning into this Season of Lent with many foci as we proceed through the days leading up to Resurrection Sunday. I would invite you to join me, each Wednesday, beginning March 1, 2023, at Noon (for only one hour, via Zoom), as we explore The Lord’s Prayer, using some of Adam Hamilton’s resources. The Zoom information will be shared in the coming weeks, and I hope you will secure your calendars for one hour a week, beginning March 1 for this time of learning and prayer…”It’s Praying Time Church!”
In Prayer and Service…