Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Midtown Prayer Collective - Some Reflections

We are coming close to the halfway point of our season of prayer, so I thought I would share some reflections.  For the backstory of the MPC, go to www.midtownprayer.com or www.facebook.com/midtownprayer.

First, I've been so encouraged not only by the turnout but also by the hearts of those who have been coming.  We have a huge wall that people have been writing on over the last two weeks.  Here's how the wall looked 2 weeks ago.



And here's how it looked as of a few days ago.



There have been deep longings for God, cries for help, and passionate prayers for our city.  I have a strong belief that God hears and is responding to those prayers.


Second, I love the communal aspect of this season of prayer.  Each time I go in I start by reading the wall above.  I also take time to read the communal prayer journal.  Again, such rich prayers and praise to God.  I love seeing what God is doing through this time.  I don't know the bulk of these people, but I know that we're in this together, and that brings me such encouragement and hope.

I also love the fact that we made the prayer room large enough for groups to be in there.  That was my buddy John Carroll's idea, and he was right on.  I've prayed with my wife, my kids, my team at NC, and my fellow pastors here in Midtown.  New dynamics of friendship and partnership rise when we spend time together in prayer.  I have seen that played out over and over again.  Tomorrow night I'll be praying at 11pm with some of the pastors who started this.  I can't wait to seek God with them.

Next, as much as I love to be with people in the prayer room, I also love being there alone, or better, just me and God.  I signed up for an afternoon spot yesterday, and almost forgot about it.  But when my alarm reminder went off an hour before I was supposed to be there, I started wrapping up my work and headed over.  Normally, stopping in the middle of a busy day to pray for an hour would not be in my schedule.  I know, I'm a pastor, but if I'm honest I have to say that prayer, or at least this kind of sustained prayer, has not been a habit in my life.

But my hour went by so fast, and it was such a great way to refocus and re-energize.  One of the things I did was to take the sign-in notebook that is at the entrance of the room.  Every time someone comes in, they write in the date, their name, and their church.  I picked that up, went into one of the corners, and prayed for everyone from my church who has been in there.  I just went line by line.  I prayed very specific prayers for my congregation.  I also prayed for sister congregations and their leaders.  I felt as if I was engaging in the most important activity I could do at that moment.

I find it easier to pray in this space, and I believe that's the case because we prayed for this.  We told him that we would dedicate this space and this time, and we asked him to meet us here.  God honors these kinds of prayers because he loves being with his children, and he loves responding to desperate prayers.

Finally, if you're reading this and are taking part in this season of prayer, I encourage you to share your reflections with someone.  Perhaps you've been once or twice and have had a good experience.  Share that.  Or maybe you haven't.  Share that as well.  Maybe your time there has been difficult.  If that's you I hope that you'll keep going.  Set some goals as to how many times you'd like to be in there over these final three weeks.  Decide when you'll be there by yourself and when you'll be there with others.  And then ask God to meet you there.


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