Our Whole Church Is Praying Together

I’m wearing my circle bracelet.  Along with most of the members of our church.  It’s my reminder to pray.

The pastoral staff and deacons of Antioch 21 here in Orlando felt the need to call the church to prayer.  So they started with themselves..

Matt Batterson, author of The Circle Maker and Praying Circles Around Your Children, also produced a practical application devotional called Draw the Circle.  All the deacons agreed to go through the 40-day challenge,  reading the daily portion in the book and praying with a partner each day—in person or on the phone or texting—whatever worked.  And of course they got together as a group and prayed.God did great things in them and among them in answer to those prayers. Each Sunday Pastor Wayne preached from 1 Kings 18 and the power of Elijah’s prayers. We heard stories of God answering prayer. Tonight Karen, a member of the deacon board, shared her story of God meeting her while on a mission trip to Nigeria.

On Easter Sunday the entire church was asked to participate in a 40-day Draw the Circle prayer challenge.  Most members are in a “gospel community,” and each group will be praying together.  Most people will have a prayer partner for the 40 days.

Tonight at our church service we spent the entire evening in worship and prayer. 

Pastor Wayne put the service in the hands of deacon board members to lead the congregation from what they learned.  

Stacey introduced the evening and emceed throughout.  

Ben and an expanded worship team took us to the throne time after time.

Kayla led the first segment, introducing the theme passage, 1 John 4:14-15: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”  She  included a responsive reading from Psalm 136 and some thoughts on the many Names of God—and how they reveal what a personal God He is.  We then spent time meditating on a name of God that was especially meaningful to us.

Kay took us to Isaiah 28:23: "Listen and hear my voice;pay attention and hear what I say."  She asked us to take a few minutes for  personal prayer and listening to God:  What did He want to say to us?  What did He want us to ask and believe Him for?

Then, after that personal conversation with God, each of us was invited to go to one of two large circles at the front and write in it what God was wanting us to trust Him for.

Next Kayla led us to pray around our tables, for our individual requests and for our church.  We are asking God to prepare us personally and as a body to live out the Gospel in our families and our neighborhoods, among our friends and coworkers, wherever God leads us.

Our weekly coming together at the Lord’s table was extra meaningful as the conclusion of our worship together.

The daily prayer will continue for five more weeks, and we believe God will do some very special things—in each of us personally, in our church and in our city.

What about you?  Could you take the 40-day prayer challenge?

C2013 Judy Douglass