I wrote in the September newsletter that we wanted to give the Word of God a workout, that the Body of Christ needed an exercise plan. To do that we tried something new. We committed to actually talking to each other during worship. We began a practice on discerning together what God was leading us to pray for from our experience of God’s Word in worship. It hasn’t always been fun. I am one who
highly doubts that anyone ever really enjoys exercising. I, for one, have never run far enough to feel a runner’s high. But, the more and more we pray together, I am starting to believe such things are possible. Like any exercise routine, it is always encouraging when you start seeing results like lost weight, new range of motion, renewed energy, or reduction of pain. So here is a non-exhaustive list of the results I am seeing from our work together:
1. People openly sharing the struggles and ambiguity of Christian life and finding acceptance and empathy.
2. People praying for unity and civil discourse, then actually acting it out as they discern together what to pray for.
3. My own kids think worship doesn’t seem so boring anymore.
4. Long time members discovering people they’ve never talked to and making faith connections.
5. Visitors walking away feeling connected to our community after one visit.
6. Children offer their prayers right alongside adults.
7. People carrying their prayer conversations into the narthex and out the door and throughout the week.
8. Members who rarely speak or participate in other facets of GSLC, finding a voice in the midst of worship.
9. The Holy Spirit moving in and through our prayer conversations in ways that connect worshipper to worshipper, but also 5:30 to 8:15 to 10:30 as each service prays on similar themes.
10. God’s word preached on the lips of worshippers as they minister to each other through mutual prayer.
In closing I offer you these words of encouragement from Hebrews 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”