In a few days, we’ll be kicking off a new series focused on prayer called: #prayermatters.
As we gear up for this important series, preparing our hearts for a few weeks’ focus on prayer, I want to share with you a story that illustrates the great joy I have in being the youth pastor at FCN. Last night was our final study in our 8-week journey through James’ NT letter. And if you’ve ever read through James before, you know that he ends with a final plea for his readers to always be in a spirit of prayer, regardless of their life’s circumstances, which for many of his readers was the daily reality of persecution and death because of their belief in Christ.
Knowing that this would be our focus, and knowing that on Sunday we’d be beginning our #prayermatters series, I told the kids that it’d be remiss of me if we didn’t spend an extended amount of time in prayer…you know…to actually apply James’ message to our lives…
And so, after a hurried lesson, I had the students engage in different prayer areas around the room. There were posterboards up on wall labeled School, Praises, Requests, and Our World, as well as sticky notes for prayers of Confession. And while it excited me to see them respond to the prayer prompts, I soon saw something else that brought me incredible joy. In the midst of walking around the room and writing things down, I saw students coming together to cry and pray and encourage one another, all without any prompting from me. (Side note: this is not the first time I’ve watched them do this for one another)
As I watched them, and as I prayed over them, I couldn’t help but think…this is what it’s all about!!! For a generation that I feel is all to easily written off as needy, entitled, disengaged millenials and Gen-Yers, it filled me with such pride to see them loving and caring for one another. And, I see their realness and rawness, and their not-caring what others in the group may think or say about them. This is what it’s all about!
And yet, at the same time, I’m filled with a wonder of why it’s so difficult for us to do the same thing on Sunday mornings (myself included!). I know I’m not a genius, but I’m fairly certain that not every one of us is doing alright…pretty good…great…or “insert your general polite response here… on a Sunday morning. Our lives are full of ups and downs, highs and lows, mountaintops and desert valleys, happies and crappies…
And so, as we prepare for the launch of our #prayermatters series, my prayer is that we are neither afraid, nor held back, by our pride to share with others the matters for which we pray, because, after all…prayer matters.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
– James 5:16 (The Message)
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
(Hebrews 4:14-16, The Message)
following His leading,
~ Pastor Joe