One of my favorite books of the Bible is Acts. There is so much we can learn as we see how the church started out; reading about these normal men and women as they worked out how they were supposed to follow Christ. Most of all though, I love how they were one in heart and mind (Acts 4:32a.) One of the reasons for this is illustrated throughout the book as they pray together and for each other. (Acts 1:14, 4:23-31, 12:5) We are taught that prayer is a deeply personal and intimate act between you and God – and it is. But there is no denying there are times when we need to come together in prayer as well. In today’s society where our individualism has become the norm, it is even more important that we are intentional about our time together and pray for each other. I’m not saying you should stop praying on your own, in fact, it is a necessity; 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says pray continually. As we pray continually however, take advantage of those times when we are together.
Prayer is one of those things which people are very sensitive about, which makes prayer with the community especially tough because so many of us are private and guarded; we may even see receiving prayer as a sign of weakness or don’t want extra attention. But praying for each other should be celebrated, not hidden away. I have seen God work miracles when we pray with each other: a woman involved in an accident was told she had a fracture on her spine, but after prayer the doctors could not find the fracture. Another woman came to Crosswalk after her husband died, and God comforted her so that within a few months she was baptized and bringing others to church. Another member struggles with relationships: she was not even able to spend time with her father without arguing – now the highlight of her week is lunch with her father on Sunday. Countless men and women come out of retreats transformed by God. Praise God! We all need healing, strength, transformation, boldness, and more; we must continue and persist in prayer for each other.
Here is my challenge to you this week: pray about it on your own, then on Sunday speak with someone in our church community and ask them how you can pray with them. Put your hand on their shoulder and do it. Right then and there. Don’t wait until you get home, don’t wait until you have time later. Don’t worry if you are blocking someone else from sitting down, they can join you. Don’t worry if other people are leaving, you won’t miss out on the donuts. Continue praying for this person all week, not just for their request but as you feel led. Whether you have been following Jesus for years or are a new believer, you have something to offer the community through prayer. Why not take the opportunity?
With all of that being said, the leadership staff needs your prayers this week: on Friday and Saturday we will be going on a retreat to pray and discuss some directions and focus for the future of Crosswalk. As you speak with us on Sunday, please pray for our continued commitment to where God leads.
As a personal prayer request, I am approaching one year back at Crosswalk and I love it. However, I find that I am living in a “Christian bubble” with all of my friends and social activities being based around church and my friends from church. Please pray that I am able to build relationships with people outside of the bubble.