Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sometimes you just shake your head

Today while I was in the office, our volunteer, who had just called the Prayer tree folks, said that the prayer ministry was struggling, that people were taking their names off the list—they are too busy, don’t have enough time….who knows what the other reasons are. A little stunned, I sort of laughed—I asked, “and people wonder why our church isn’t growing?” I mean really, we are so concerned (seemingly anyway) about the vitality and welfare of our church, and yet we don’t have time to pray? We’ve gone from 20 or so on the prayer tree to maybe 10. Does this concern anyone else? I encouraged the volunteer to go ahead and reorganize the lists so that we don’t have just one person on a branch of the tree. I also turned to our secretary and said, “How about you put something in the bulletin, say we are reorganizing the prayer trees and we would like to add folks to the prayer ministry of our church, if people are interested, please submit name and phone number.” “I’ll get it in this week,” she quickly replied.

Meanwhile, across the pews in the “other” congregation, we continue to meet weekly for prayer. The same 4 folks and me, faithfully. We pray. We pray for each other, for those on the prayer chain, for our church, our ministries, our loved ones, our nation, and our world. We pray. We believe God changes things and responds to our petitions. And almost to underscore the discrepancy, I had shared with them at Bible study this morning (pre-talk with the volunteer) that I have been so grateful all week—Sunday we had 27 in worship, compared to the 6 that were there when I started a year ago! God is doing great things. And I am convinced it is in spite of me and my own efforts. We are growing, we are learning, we have hope, we have energy, we have new ministries. And I, along with the Bible study group, attribute that growth to prayer and to God’s answers.

So, my two thoughts for today:
1) Get on your knees and pray. It works!
2) (for those who pastor a church or lead a ministry, or run a non-profit, or just want significant change to happen at home or at work) get your people to pray. We should ALL always be able to find time to pray. For the success of our efforts, for them to truly not about us but beyond us, we must be founded in prayer, in God’s goodness and faithfulness.

End of sermon.

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