Monday, January 26, 2009

Only Do but Begin with Prayer

Last year I discovered some great wisdom:
Only do what only you can do.

It’s the sort of advice you have to read over a few times – even aloud – to full appreciate (go ahead stop now and read it aloud three times).

Trying to live in a way in which I only do what only I can do has given me lots of occasions to think about how I spend my day, specifically I keep asking the question: Am I spending my time doing the right things?

Lately I’ve had an increasing sense that foremost among the “right things” that I must do each day is spend more time in prayer.

It’s tempting to let so many other things push prayer to the margins. Sometimes my schedule feels like the catalyst for Bill Hybel’s book “Too Busy NOT To Pray.” Sadly, even in a church, I find that few people place as high a priority on prayer as they do the sort of tangible things that give us a sense of accomplishment (and I am among the most guilty).

The reformer Martin Luther described the necessity of prayer this way:

"If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer."

What if we really believed that – what if I really believed that – to be true?

There are five things that I’ve begun to pray for Grace Church:

Provision – we continue to live in a challenging financial season which requires an even greater dependence on our All Sufficient God to provide all that we will need
Protection – recently we’ve experienced some great success as a church proclaiming God’s kingdom. The most dangerous time for a church is during a season of success. Lately I’ve been reminded of Elijah following the victory of Mt. Carmel and it’s prompted me to pray for our protection.
Vision – God’s vision is never static – it’s always dynamic and we need to continue to be open to the new things God is doing all around us.
Courage – as Joshua and Israel entered into new territory, the Promised Land, God commanded them to be bold and courageous. The church is entering new territory as we discover what ministry requires in 2009 and beyond. It’s going to require bold courage.
Unity – a congregation that is united can be used by God to accomplish anything. But as Abraham Lincoln said “A house divided can not stand.” Jesus prayed for our unity as the body of Christ. My specific prayer is for unity among our leaders (staff, elders and deacons).

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