Skip to main content

Symphonising with God

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven for where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:19, 20 NIV
When you gather with others to pray, what happens? For most of my life, a prayer meeting consisted of people listing things that were needed such as “Heal my great-uncle Joe’s friend of cancer.” The requests were often impersonal, focusing on people not present or, for health/work/family concerns. People took turns praying for what had been listed at the beginning of the gathering and there was a dry boringness about the whole affair*. Perhaps you’ve experienced prayer meetings like this.

A year or two ago, I visited New Life Foursquare Church in Grand Forks. In the midst of the Sunday morning service, the congregation was invited to divide up into small groups of four or so and pray with each other for each other. This was not an opportunity to bring up the needs of one's neighbour's cousin's daughter's broken leg, but a chance to share real and personal needs of the people in the group. What a way to foster community and intimacy! They did this weekly, and I saw a closeness to each other in the congregation and a naked closeness to God. This is not a church where people wear a façade to show how spiritual they are. It is a place where people are real, welcoming transparency and honesty, and it shows. What a blessing that visit was!

At the beginning of 2008, I began attending Winnipeg Centre Vineyard. I had intended to sit back for several months and watch to see if this was a place I could call home but I ended that waiting much sooner than expected during a week of prayer the church had organized.

The only agenda was to sit and wait on God to show and tell us what he desired. Songs of worship were used to bring us into an atmosphere of prayer but were easily interrupted when someone had something to say. Perhaps it was a direct prayer to God. Sometimes it was the reading of a passage from Scripture. Other times someone described a picture that had just come to them or related a dream that seemed relevant to the church. This would prompt others to add to what was said and often a common thread began to emerge, which we then took back to God for his counsel.

The prayer meetings weren’t for a handful of old ladies with nothing better to do, but attracted a good-sized crowd, including the young, twenty-somethings. Each evening the prayer was vibrant and real—conversations with God that involved everyone willing to speak (and many silent prayers as well). Each evening flew by and we had to be reminded that it was time to end. That time always came far too early.

Since then I’ve discovered many other opportunities to meet together for prayer and have been blessed each time. This is definitely the church for me.

My reading of Oswald Chambers this morning centred around public prayer. I smiled at the following:
It is far from right to agree beforehand over what we want, and then go to God and wait, not until He gives us His mind about the matter, but until we extort from Him permission to do what we had made up our minds to do before we prayed; we should rather agree to ask God to convey His mind and meaning to us in regard to the matter. Agreement in purpose on earth is not a public presentation of persistent begging which knows no limit, but a…"symphonising" on earth with our Father Who is in heaven.**
I like that and I’m so grateful to have found a congregation that does just what Chambers suggested over 90 years ago.

Father, thank you for giving us the privilege to come before you and pray. Thank you for all you have been teaching me about prayer and how to connect with you. What a blessing you are, and what a blessing your praying children!

*Let me make it clear that I believe it is important to bring the needs of those we know and love to God and to do that in community. I am very grateful, however, to have learned new ways to interact with God together with other believers.

**"Christian Disciplines, Volume 2" in The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers , page 313


Popular posts from this blog

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.

My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…

Eulogy for Mikael

It's 3:13 a.m. as I write this, just hours before Mikael's funeral. I've slept 2 1/2 hours already but when I woke I couldn't get back to sleep. I am so full of joy I have no room for grief. I lay in bed two hours ago, feeling this joy well up into near excitement, undergirded with a peace and contentment that to most people would make no sense. I'm not sure it makes sense to me but I know it's real. God has been so good. He has poured out his blessings on us this week and I feel like we are the most blessed family in the world right now.
I can't imagine life without Mikael. I'm still in shock, running on adrenaline and the drive to give Mikael the best farewell ever and not wanting to miss a moment of the flood of family and friends who have been pouring into our home with cards, flowers, meals, goodies, more meals and goodies, love, prayers and memories. I've been sitting in an armchair where I have a straight line of sight to the front entrance, a…