Here it's all about the prayer that began everything... Sherwood began to really pray... and I mean, intercede and pray. They began having prayer meetings for hours at a time as a church. They built a prayer chapel and developed an intercessory prayer team. The prayer team, when they ran out of prayer requests from the church, began calling everyone down the phone book and ask the people if they needed prayer - and then mailed prayer cards to everyone that gave them their requests. They found out there were tons of people facing surgery, death of a loved one, divorce, and joblessness with no church home whatsoever (did you know it takes about 3 years if you make calls down the phone book every day?).
Every decision made was first met with a prayer meeting - an exclusive prayer meeting with no discussion.
And they prayed big prayers. They took a stand by faith and asked God - and they wouldn't have it any other way. They stood on His Word instead of the circumstance and asked God to move mountains. They prayed Scripture. They engaged in big fights against dark forces.
Wow. My prayer life is nothing like that.
I remember in high school I was that way. I remember us having Tuesday night youth prayer meetings where we could be on our knees for about 3 hours. I remember spending a lot of time on my knees either at church altars or at home - having prayer walks around lower-income neighborhoods...
It's not necessarily that I lost the faith, but more so that I lost the practice. I haven't gotten passionate enough to pray about anything like that anymore. I think I just got busy. I also developed this "God knows" attitude.
Now on the other hand, I have a lot of prayer burdens. The growth of my kids being one. I realized at church that I don't want to just entertain them so they sit still during service, but I want them to learn to praise and worship God. And right now our church and the worship ministry needs a lot of prayer. And musicians... but mainly prayer. The congregation is not the stand, clap and sing type - for various reasons and many of them valid and medical. It doesn't mean they are NOT worshiping... but it isn't easy for me to see from the mic's point of view.
I guess I'm praying for the rest of the sanctuary (and there's quite a bit of room) to be filled with people who will stand, clap, and sing during worship. And musicians (that would REALLY help) with instruments. Why am I praying for a change in worship? I don't know... maybe because it's really different from what I've been taught. And maybe because I know that in singing, dancing, and clapping here is victory over the Foe... God's Spirit does things over people that invest their hearts, their minds, and their body into worship. I want this congregation to experience that.
And I want to be a little bit more in my comfort zone too, since I'm volunteering with the worship ministry.
I have pictures of Anakin waving a banner that says "Holy is the Lord" twice his size during praise and worship at the altar... he wasn't quite 2 yet. I have memories of dancing in the Spirit, and having a glorious time of celebrating all that God is...
And I miss that, terribly. Myself. But I don't want to go church hopping until I find it. I believe if there's any place where God can do this, it's here at my church now.
This is an awkward prayer burden to share... some people would say "Just go to another church". Others would say, "Leave things as they are, if they are happy." But I can't shake the feeling that God wants to do something more and so I am praying for it, along with other members of this church. Maybe we should unite and pray together. Maybe we should fast.
I also want to reach lost souls for His kingdom. I have plenty of unsaved loved ones to pray for. And witness to. And here in Anchorage, I don't really KNOW a lot of people outside of my church family to be a witness to (which is why I blog and facebook).
And somehow, I believe in my heart that all of it is tied to the worship ministry. I feel that once the Praise and Worship ministry truly kicks in, and this small congregation responds to worship... that God will bring in families and souls who aren't saved, who will receive Jesus, who will enter into discipleship, and then give their talents over to our church in service. I feel that, when I am up on the microphone singing every Sunday morning, there is a warfare - a bondage that we're wrestling to break free from.
I haven't even ARTICULATED any of this in prayer because I couldn't find the words to say until I started blogging about it. And this post is not even about worship - it's about prayer! It's about the prayer that we need to give the church. I don't want all our churches to keep recycling believers from one congregation to another because of preference. My biggest prayer burden is for churches to grow with UNCHURCHED people who need to be fought for and won over for His kingdom.