“Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” –
I once attended a special church meeting where a large number of the members had gathered into “camps” before the meeting had even started. As the tension began to grow into a full-blown conflict, the
presiding pastor stopped the discussion and called for one minute of discerning prayer to ask for God’s direction. She said that we had all heard a number of people’s opinions, and now it was time to ask for God’s opinion. The group reluctantly fell silent as most looked downward in prayer and reflection. After the minute was up, the pastor asked, “What did you hear in your minute of prayer?” Amazingly, several people heard the very same solution – and the different camps disintegrated into a strong overall unity.
The once-divided group passed the proposed project with only one dissenting vote, and the meeting was adjourned to joyful fellowship. One of the members came up to the presiding pastor as she was preparing to leave. “I have to admit, that was one interesting meeting,” he said. “But I still think we shouldn’t be asking God for help on problems that we can solve ourselves.” The pastor grinned and replied, “Well, Sam, that’s one way to approach things. But it seems to me it would be a whole lot more efficient and less painful to first ask the One who knows best. Then we would do well to follow His lead!”
Stuff happens when God’s people pray – and when they then actually listen for God’s response! The Scriptures assure us that what is impossible for us is very possible for God (Matthew 26:19). In fact, God “is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20) And, here’s the best part: our heavenly Father wants to be a part of our lives, and wants us to prosper and have abundant life, both as an individual and as the Ames First, Colo, and Collins United Methodist Churches. God does not want to do things in spite of us, but desires to partner with us, to His glory. What need does the God who created the universe from nothing have for our works? What God really desires is to be in relationship with God’s people. And one way we can help build that relationship is to intentionally include the Lord in our daily conversations and work.
We are hopeful that we are coming out of this COVID pandemic, for real. Even so, “normal” as we once knew it will never return. Many churches did not survive the pandemic; many others are on the edge of financial collapse. Pray that the work we have done during the shutdown will begin to take hold, and that we will emerge from it in a healthy, sustainable way. Pray that our ministries gain a strong footing as the communities seek a new normal. Pray that we may serve those who have recognized a hunger for meaning in their lives by sharing our lives, in Christ’s name. Pray for our leaders as they seek God’s path for our churches. Pray that those whom God has called and is calling into service through our churches will hear that call, and pursue it.
Stuff happens when God’s people pray – it is a vital foundation for any and all of our ministries! And above all, be sure to take the time to listen for God’s whisper in the conversation. It may save you and others a lot of grief and effort! We would do well to follow God’s leading first!
See you in worship!
Yours for the Journey,