A Week of Prayer and our story so far

We ended our First 40 Days of Prayer experience with a daily gathering (instead of a the regular weekly one) based on the themes of the  remaining 7 days for the devotionals.

The objective of the First 40 was to end up  with a new or renewed lifestyle of prayer. The signal that we were on the right path would come from how we would testify for Jesus, and grabbed opportunities to make someone else’s life a little better.

The typical week of prayer most of us had been a part of had involved inviting a “special speaker’ to lead a program for spiritual renewal of church folks.

Nothing wrong with that, but while church folks were still blessed by the week,we emphasized building a praying and outward-focused community of Christ’ disciples.

Here are two main ways we hoped to accomplish this objectives,aside from a daily email devotionals focused compassion:

1. We encouraged people to be attentive to whom God was calling them to invite to the HoPE. In fact, the dream was to have a sign outside of our HoPE space so that a passersby would read: “How may we pray with you? Please come in!”

What if our Houses of Prayer were places where the stranger could be welcome and know that there would find a safe place to pour their deepest prayer and where people of God could support them in their search for God?

2. What if Week of prayers weren’t only events to inspire ourselves, but an occasion to provide spiritual encouragement with practical acts of kindness toward our local community?

As a group, we collected items for homeless people or people in need that we might encounter on the road during our day. Having starter kit bags ready to distribute created an awareness and a  reminder that God had provided for us so that we might bless someone else when the occasion would present itself.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

-Ephesians 2:10

As a follow up to our 40Days, we plan to do outreach as a group on a more regular basis among ourselves and with our local church at large. If you are joining local agencies to provide for the poor while connecting it to Prayer Ministry, please share with us on this blog! We’d love to read about what you’re doing.

2. During our week of prayer, we as leaders receded into the background as much as possible and made space for others to rise to the occasion for leading out in prayers and sharing their story -so far- with God.

The Week of Prayer became an opportunity for living out what the Holy Spirit was empowering us to do. The seven days were a microcosm of the life we are called to live everyday: Share with others our stories with God so far and practice serving another.

In other words, Live the Gospel.

As a community we want to came together to do something for the benefit of those we’ve been praying about: those who have less or are easily forgotten in our society. Prayer is not doing nothing.

Prayer is doing good or doing ministry in the authority of Jesus, and prayer  is the power source of what makes living the Gospel possible.

Courage!

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Day 40 of 40: Home!

Read Luke 2: 5-15.

Ah, Christmas. Think of the Christmas cards with the cozy stable, well-behaved animals, adoring shepherds and worshiping wise men. Except the word usually translated as “inn” (verse 7) is the Greek word “kataluma”—which can also mean guest room or upper chamber. So forget the first-century hotel, forget the grumpy innkeeper. It was in a very difficult, very harsh reality that God’s Son made his entrance on to the world’s stage: a peasant house, where animals were kept and fed inside the home alongside the family. Joseph and his teenage bride stayed in a home so cramped that there was no room upstairs with the rest of their host’s family; the only place to lay the baby was downstairs in the animals’ feed box.

Picture it: a small town in Palestine, a peasant’s home, a helpless baby in an animal’s feeding trough. To think that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth in such a humble fashion. But he came, and bore the indignity of a public feeding trough—for you.

Reflect

How does the harsh reality of the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth help you experience that event in a fresh way? What does that tell you of Jesus’ love for you and others?

Live the Gospel

Share the message of Christmas all throughout the year by volunteering to prepare a meal or by providing entertainment at a homeless shelter or retirement home. Or volunteer to work in an orphanage or a relief organization that aids children around the world.

Pray:

Lord, do you see the plight of those who are without a home? See how their lives are ebbing away. Please find them a place where they can settle. Thank you for your unfailing love and the wonderful things you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 Forest Lake Church’s First 40 days of Prayer

See www.EasterRestart.com for original theme order and content.