A little bit of rain (okay, a lot of rain) last week had us feeling pretty soggy for a couple of days but now it seems our typical weather pattern has returned. The forecast for the week was a beautifully boring 72+ and sunny skies. No doubt when we hear about the cold weather happening in other parts of the country we are especially thankful for the predictable warmth that we have come to know and love in SoCal.
It has me thinking today about the warmth of our church. Unlike Santa Barbara weather, the temperature in a church can fluctuate quite wildly from hot to cold. I’m thinking especially about three areas of ministry in our church body; prayer, fellowship, and evangelism.
So for this week, think with me for a moment about the temperature of our church when it comes to prayer. Prayer is central to all that we are and all that we do. It is our direct link to the Father for praise and petition, gratitude and guidance. Many of us learned last spring in our Growth Group study on prayer that “When God’s People Pray” good things happen. God’s power is unleashed in new and fresh ways, hearts and lives are transformed, situations and circumstances are changed, the kingdom of God advances.
We also learned of the importance of cultivating an atmosphere of prayer in the church. We have tried to do that with our prayer groups on Wednesday afternoons at 4:30 and Sunday mornings at 9, along with making a greater point of emphasis on prayer in our worship gatherings and Growth Groups.
Still though, I’m not sure any of us would say that we are setting any record temperatures when it comes to prayer in our church. There is always more cultivating that we can do and more venues and opportunites that we can provide to encourage prayer in our Body. And the reality is that more and more of us simply need to be convinced of the urgency of prayer and begin to make it a priority in our lives.
Jim Cymbala said (and I agree) that “If we do not yearn and pray and expect God to stretch out his hand do the supernatural, it will not happen. That is the simple truth of the matter. We must give him room to operate.”
So, what can you do to “turn up the heat” on prayer – both in your personal life and in our church family? What new commitments can you make to spending time in private prayer and joining with others in prayerful community? Does one of our weekly prayer groups work for you or do you need to start a new one? (All it takes is “two or three gathered in his Name”) Are you interested in being a part of a “Prayer Team” to pray before, after, and even during our worship gatherings with people in need or simply on your own? Whatever it might be, I trust you will prayerfully consider the role that you can take to help raise the temperature of prayer in our church. And I hope you will post a comment below to respond or continue the conversation.