It’s always encouraging for me to hear of churches that set aside time at the beginning of the year to focus on prayer.
Starting this way reminds us of the One to whom we pray and the One we are to behold. We are reminded that for all our abilities and good intentions, we are desperate for Him in the life of the Church and beyond.
Whether it’s a teaching series on prayer or a corporate prayer day, whether it's a prayer and fasting period or a prayer and worship session, let’s continue to seek the Lord in prayer as we head into 2023.
May you be encouraged by the two stories shared below.
Greig Caigou, the pastor at Tasman Church, shares:
Each year Tasman Church includes a quarterly teaching around prayer and at the start of this year, Greig taught on “The Name” - The name of Jesus.
Greig says “Our purpose in this is to help remind folks of the importance of prayer and so we focus on some of the fascinating facets of a vibrant prayer life. For example, we've looked at biblical perspectives around the awesome power of blessing, intercession - listening and praying, prayer with fasting, and what persistence in prayer actually looks like . . . along with the value of solitude and thankfulness amongst other things. We want to engage with our God more in prayer. As someone once said, "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, it is laying hold of His highest willingness"
Brigitte Crowe, the pastor at Howick Community Church shares about their Summer Café Prayer Focus:
When we thought about what we’d like to start 2023 with, prayer was a unanimous choice for the elders. So, we started on Sunday 1 January with prayer and communion.
In small groups around tables, with coffee and food, we discussed why we pray, what causes us to stop praying, and how to deal with disappointment or anger towards God for not answering in ways we would like Him to.
We discussed four ways God can answer: No - Slow - Grow - Go. We watched short prayer videos and then spent 20-30 minutes discussing various questions, before spending time praying with one another.
We talked about getting our own thoughts out of the way before we’re able to hear God speaking. It reminds me of Samuel, who had never heard God’s voice and it wasn’t until Eli told him that God can speak to us, that he answered.
The benefit to us as a church was that we learnt to make ourselves vulnerable with each other and some people bravely shared their experiences with the whole church. Another benefit is that people had robust discussions in their small groups. Lastly, we spent all that time talking about God and talking with God!
What a great way to start the year!
Story by Prayer Coordinator Jackie Millar