Happy New Year! I hope and pray that you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas celebration with friends and family, and that your year gets off to a wonderfully blessed start. It’s hard to believe that it’s already time to hang up the new calendars, but 2019 is upon us, so here we go!
Every new year is another opportunity to reflect on the year just past and to consider thoughtfully any changes we’d like to put into place for the next 12 months. For 2019, I’d like to invite you to join me in making this a year of renewed and deepened emphasis on prayer. Prayer is something we know and believe to be truly foundational in the lives of Christians, and yet we can so often allow time in prayer to slip to the lower end of our list of priorities in a given day or week. As followers of our shepherd and Savior, Jesus Christ, we know that we need to be listening for his voice, and we trust that he longs to hear from us, as well.
As a congregation, we’re going to kick off the new year by gathering in a time of prayer and praise on Wednesday evening, January 2, 6:30-7:45 p.m. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us in the sanctuary as we focus on God as the giver of every good gift and our only true hope in any year. There will be no other programs meeting that night.
Please stay tuned for opportunities throughout the year to gather for prayer and to grow in your own practice of personal prayer. This past fall, about 15 of our members participated in a prayer retreat that provided a lot of great ideas and resources for deepening our commitment to prayer and broadening our range of prayer practices. As we dig into next steps with these prayer practices and other spiritual disciplines, watch for opportunities to join in.
Several prayer gatherings are found on our weekly and monthly calendar. Each Sunday morning, we gather in the prayer room at 8 a.m. (January-May) to lift up the morning’s worship services and the congregation’s needs and praises before God. Each Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. a group of men meets in the memorial room for a time of devotions and intercessory prayer. On the first Wednesday of each month, a group meets in the prayer room for Prayer Raid (1 p.m.), an extended time of sharing and praying for those in our congregation and far beyond. Finally, Grandparents’ Prayer and Share (GPS) brings grandparents together on the second Monday of each month (10 a.m.) to pray for grandchildren and to grow as grandparents seeking to have godly influence in the lives of their grandchildren.
If you’re looking for some resources to grow in your personal prayer and devotional life, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best to provide you with some guidance along the lines of what you’re looking for.
The Apostle Paul writes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV). 2019 is sure to bring us some temptations and invitations to anxiety. Instead of listening to those, let’s attend to the invitations of God to spend time with him (and with God’s people) in prayer, knowing that our Father desires to hear from his children and is moved by his deep love for us to respond. Prayer can be a bit mysterious, but rather than grow weary in our prayers, let’s lean into prayer all the more in 2019 and beyond.