This Sunday will be a busy and exciting day at Shelby Crossings. In addition to what promises to be another inspiring time of worship among God’s people, we will be sending off some of our own in prayer for their mission trip to Africa. We will also be recognizing and honoring our graduates from the Class of 2017, and later that afternoon our Shelby Crossings Christian School will have its own graduation. Sunday evening, several members of the TCASC family will join together to prepare and serve dinner to “the least of these” at a homeless shelter in Birmingham. And, others from our church body will gather in our worship center for the purpose of prayer. A busy day indeed.
It was Martin Luther who once said, “I have so much to do that I must spend the first three hours of each day in prayer.” I was reminded of that quote again this week, in the midst of our busy weekend, as we prepare for our church wide Prayer Gathering on Sunday evening.
Our elders, desiring to lead our church body into a deeper commitment to prayer, are calling the church to join us for this “prayer meeting” on Sunday night. Often, such a call to prayer is precipitated by a crisis–a time of brokenness and repentance from sin; a need for direction in a time of decision; or crying out for God’s provision in a time of great need. Quite frankly, there is no great crisis, sin, decision or need that motivates this call to prayer. We just want to seek the Lord, in good times and bad, and make sure we stay on our face before Him, humble and open to His will.
We desire for prayer to be a priority in our church. But the truth is, often it is not. It is so easy to get distracted by the busy-ness of life’s business, even in doing Biblical ministry, that we forget to spend focused time in prayer, both individually or corporately. So many of us live our lives that way every day–spinning our wheels, working hard, even planning diligently, but “too busy” to pray. We would all do well to listen to Luther’s words and understand that in fact most of us are too busy NOT to pray.
If you are like me, you probably feel like your life is always lived on a deadline, and usually in a hurry. When that happens, God often gets the leftovers of our time. As Samuel Chadwick once said, “Hurry is the death of prayer.”
So…this Sunday night, we stop. To pray. If only for an hour (or as long as the Spirit leads), we will gather together in one place to pray. There is much Biblical precedent for the people of God coming together to seek Him together, and so many of the great moves of God throughout the centuries–from Biblical times to church history–have been borne out of God’s people pulling themselves from their routine, taking time away from their distracted lives, and seeking His face.
That will be the agenda for Sunday night.
I hope you can be with us on Sunday night for this special time in the life of our church. I’m praying for you, and look forward to seeing you this Sunday.