Wednesday, September 19, 2007

the prayer group

There are a lot of exciting things happening right now in our church. A lot.

But, of the many things I could list, nothing thrills me more than a new initiative that started this week: every Tuesday from 8 onwards, there will be a group devoted solely to prayer.

Too often, churches focus on programs and Bible studies and "relevant" teaching and social events and planning committees, but forget the one thing God would have us do in all simplicity: call on his name, seek his face, cry out for his mercy and ask that he pour out his blessing on his people, the hurting & this land. And, I'm sad to say, over the months that Oasis Madrid has been in existence, we too have fallen into that misguided trap of "doing more", the trap that causes one to "pray less."

Since Oasis Madrid began in January 2006, I have been hoping and praying (perhaps not often enough or fervently enough) that our church would truly become a praying church. The good news is: it seems to be happening now...

Jonathan Steele, one of our members/leaders, has decided to host a prayer group every Tuesday where he lives. And, here's the best part: he thought of this all on his own, without the staff of the church even suggesting anything to him. Now, I wish I could take credit for this, but, unfortunately all the credit goes to Jonathan for the idea. In either case (and I'm sure Jonathan would agree with this) it doesn't really matter who gets the credit; what matters is: it's happening. We're beginning to pray more fervently.

And, as I said, I am thrilled to tears about this.

Last night, as Jonathan and I prayed together I sensed God was saying (in a loving, even cheerful voice), "Well, it's about time! Now you're gettin' the hang of it. How long have I been telling you guys that only one thing is needed? Call on me and I will answer. See, this is the way I show my power, so that the world will know that I am alive and long to show grace. I've been waiting for you to come to me, and am overjoyed to see that, at long last, you've got the sense enough to 'just do it'. Just come to me, my children. Just call on my name. Just ask; I'll answer. You'll see. You'll see."

So, now my prayer is: "God, give us the strength, the conviction, the passion and hunger to persevere in prayer, to keep seeking your face, to persist in crying out to you. Help us not to look back. Help us to keep praying. Ignite a fire, a passion for prayer in your people. Help us to see that you're just waiting with arms outstretched for your people to come to you, to plead for your mercy, grace, power and glory. Help us to come to you again and again and again. Make us a people of prayer. Amen."

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