Tuesday, January 3, 2012
City Gate Jan/Feb 2012
Dear Church Family,
Now is the time of year when resolutions are made, when the best of intentions, if we are honest, often find themselves buried in the snow of January or February. Nevertheless, most of begin each New Year with commitments that flow from the good and bad we remember from the previous year. As I remember 2011, I am reminded of the Lord awakening within me a new awareness of spiritual warfare. I gained a more experiential understanding of Ephesians 6:12. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (ESV). Because of invisible forces of evil, Paul first instructs us to put on the whole armor of God, Paul now describes what we are to do now that God’s armor has equipped us. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Eph 6:18, NIV). The purpose of God’s armor is so God’s people can pray.
Each year seems to begin with a refreshing energy and a desire to reestablish priorities. May I encourage each of you to begin 2012 by making corporate prayer a life-priority? Not just for 2012, but for the rest of your life.
I would like to make two suggestions for making corporate prayer a life priority for you and your family.
1. Don’t come to our corporate prayer gathering to see if you like it. That consumerist attitude is not the proper posture for prayer. We would all admit things that are worth being a priority are not necessarily pleasing at first. Think of the first few times on the treadmill or the stationery bike – not exactly the easiest thing. God’s Word commands us to pray together and never says praying together is going to come naturally or is going to be easy. Even so, I do believe you will be pleasantly surprised about how refreshing and fulfilling it is to gather in prayer with God’s people.
2. Do come to our corporate prayer gathering to be with Jesus. We begin each gathering with a prayer in Jesus’ name, asking him to be present with us through the Spirit that he may teach us to pray. This practice is based squarely on Matthew 18:20. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (ESV). Jesus is present with us when we pray together in a way that he is not present when we pray by ourselves. This is the plain teaching of the New Testament, but it has proven to be true through my experience along with many others. In 2011, my most vivid experiences of God’s presence have occurred at our Wednesday Gathering.
So as each of us contemplates resolutions for 2012, please consider making Gathering to Pray a priority each Wednesday at 6pm.