I hope, that amongst other things, this week will have whet our appetite for a more consistent prayer life – both individually and corporately. But we’ll need more than the momentum from a week of prayer to sustain a renewed commitment to pray over the long haul.
Amongst other things, we’ll need patience. As with most things in the life of discipleship, it is best to start small and allow things to grow organically. We think, ‘If I can’t pray for an hour, or through the night, then it isn’t worth trying’. Actually if 10 or 15 minutes is all we have the spiritual strength to sustain on a regular basis, then start with 10 or 15 minutes. After a few weeks, you’ll find you can start to slowly build it up. It may take a few years for us to learn how to spend more sustained periods in prayer. But the journey is far more significant than we realise. That is as true for us as a Church as it is for us as individuals.
And we need to recognise the difference between two very different experiences of prayer. Throughout this week we have been ‘working’ in prayer. We have been fasting and interceding about people and situations where we long to see God at work; praying about evangelism, discipleship, Church planting, and a host of different aspects of our life together at MIE. We have been laying ourselves out before God, vulnerable to the work of His Spirit, and looking for Him to work in us and through us. It is hard work and can leave us physically, spiritually, and emotionally exhausted. But that is not the only kind of prayer. There is also the joyful relationship with God – simply being with the God you love, who has captivated your heart. Walking with God, talking with Him about the stuff of life, enjoying His revealing of Himself to us and allowing Him to feed and sustain us. Simply enjoying being with Him without an agenda. In the words of one old saint, it is learning to practise the presence of God, and we need the latter if we are to endure the former.
We need to develop our prayer life in way that is sustainable. I hope this week will help you persevere. Anyone can start a marathon, but who will finish it?
Prayer meetings today are at 12.00-12.45, St. Andrew’s and 7.30-8.15 pm at St. John’s (where there will be a chance to pray for the persecuted Church). If you can’t make them here are some thoughts about Bixley Farm to get you started at home:
- Pray for good weather on 3rd September, and for help with refreshments / bbq / activities / cake.
- For the work that needs to be done over the summer – for effective organisation and publicity.
- Bishop Mike as he speaks
- For unity in the core mission team as we focus on what He wants not what we think we want.
- That conversations are opened between the core team and the residents of Bixley Farm and that they are effective.
- For the impact of launching a new congregation on the Churches at St Andrew’s and St. John’s.
- For MIE developing new ways of working as it co-ordinates the life of the 3 congregations.