Prayer has always been important to me. After all, without regular, two-way communication, no relationship can survive, let alone flourish and become more intimate. And my relationship with God needs to flourish and become more intimate.
In May last year, Joy and I were faced with (actually smashed in the face with!) eight family tragedies all at once. To cut a long story short, it got to the point where I was so drained (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually) that I didn’t want to “go on.” I remember that it was a Wednesday night, and I was about to confront Joy with my decision to leave the ministry to which God had called me. All of a sudden both of our mobile phones went crazy, with each of us receiving fourteen text messages, all at once! The last one said, “You have just been Timbrel text bombed!”.
Our Timbrel brigade girls (aged 16 – 25) had been sitting in a circle and praying for us, and then they all sent text messages at the same time to us. Some of the messages were, “Knowing u r going thru some heavy stuff. Not sure what it is, but God does. And we just took u to Him.” and “Luv u heaps. Know that God is protecting u right now.” and “Just prayed for u. Hang in there. God isn’t finished with u yet. And neither r we!” and so on.
We were both overwhelmed, with the love and support that these young ladies showed us, and with God’s amazing timing! And yes, we are both still in the ministry to which God has called us!
Our congregation has really embraced the power, vitality, and necessity of prayer.
We have established a number of ways that prayer is utilised in our community of faith. Our weekly newsletter contains specific points for prayer. We have an “info” email listing, where prayer needs are emailed to everyone in our congregation with an email address. (For those who do not receive emails, they are contacted by phone).
We also have a “Call to Prayer”, for whenever there is a serious concern, and folk come to our complex, or pray where they are. We have prayer days, where folk commit to 15 minutes of prayer somewhere in that 24 hours. We have a dedicated prayer room in our complex, where people can come and pray. We have encouragement slips, where people can write to someone in our congregation and let them know that they have been prayed for.
We have a monthly Prayer Gathering on a Sunday afternoon, where folk come and have a guided time of corporate and individual prayer (Prayer Stations are set up and utilised during this time as well).
We have seminars where folk are invited to come and learn more about prayer. In our next one, at the end of this month, the teaching will be on “Praying Old Testament Scripture”.
There are times when someone is carrying a real burden, and yet it is not appropriate for the whole congregation to know all the details. And so, we have a team called the “Prayer Warriors”. Their average age is 88 years, and they are saints who have walked the journey of faith for many years. They are trusted, and we know that they bring our folk to God on a daily basis.
We believe that we have only just scratched the surface of prayer, but we also know that we are in relationship with a God who actually loves us so much that, not only did He die for us, but He enjoys spending time with us. And we are learning just how enjoyable it is to spend time with Him!