Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Day and Night (07/10/14)
TITLE: (Prayer) Power to the People!
By Noel Mitaxa
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“I felt the same,” replied Mark, “because I had a memorably-forgettable meeting with the same deacons who invited you. I almost tripped over their morale as I walked in, and I was never so glad to hear a prayer close a meeting. So what’s happened to bring about the changes?”
Gerry took a sip and smiled across the table at his two friends, while reflecting on their seminary years. Back then they had been dubbed “the unholy trinity:” not through any moral issues but from their insistence on grounding their learning in practical issues where Joe or Jill Average lived. Their questions to faculty members and to fellow students in tutorials always highlighted practicality over theory, and prevented any academic balloons from soar into barren heights of irrelevance.
“For a while I felt that Port Colton church could have been nicknamed St Stagnatius, or St Nostalgicus,” he admitted. “But underneath I sensed that God was going to revitalise these old folks who still loved him. None of my predecessors had matched the effort of a visiting evangelist back in the sixties, when people came to Christ from absolutely nowhere, and stuck around; doubling the membership in only two weeks.”
“True,” said Mark. “A great legacy, but a long shadow for any pastor to step out from and offer a different lead. What’s turned them around from the pastor’s graveyard that they once were? It’s like the difference between day and night!”
“Admittedly, the guy before me didn’t endear himself when he announced that he had come to prepare a dying church for burial,” replied Gerry, “but God gave me an idea that affirms His ownership and allows His plans and His timing to be embraced by everyone. It didn’t damage our shrinking budget; it didn’t involve any extra meetings; and it didn’t mean any special focus for my preaching.”
Rob and Mark put their cups down. They were all ears.
“With twenty five households in total, I invited five people to form a Prayer Power Team. It’s grown since then, with each person having their own five households to pray for daily—from home—so God might bless them and extend his blessing through them,” Garry added, passing some leaflets to his friends—who picked them up and read the suggested prayer guide.
“Lord God, I ask you to bless and guard (these households by name) today. Please anoint their contact with others today – especially with anyone who doesn’t know of your love. Help them to be sensitive to their interest or objections, so your grace has room to move.
“May those who visit our worship sense your invitation to come back and put down roots to grow in Christ with us. And may we welcome the freshness of their gifts as they mature.
“May our church leaders embrace opportunities for growth, within your timing and resources to release your life-changing grace into our community. Bless them with clear insight and wisdom, so we may express your love for those who don’t know you, and so they will commit themselves to you and join us in spreading your loves in Port Colton.”
“Now every member knows that team members are upholding each day, they are more sure of God’s working with them wherever they are. It’s exciting to see, and there’s a whole new sense of welcome in our worship,” Garry explained, his smile widening.
“Not only that, we have just purchased the property next door as a base for practical community ministries like skills training for unemployed people. Maybe in this dead old pastors’ graveyard we’ve all died and gone to heaven…
“There’s a lot more about this whole new light of God’s grace, and while we like to pray, I know we aren't too used to fasting. So let’s stay here for some pizza. It’s on me, so what’ll you have?”
Author’s note - Prayer Power Teams are proving to be a key to great blessing in every church that has begun them.
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