Archives For prayer

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I read that written goals are more likely accomplished, and accountability makes those goals even more effective. So in 2014, I tried something new and shared the goals that I had set for myself.  I kept those goals visible in my office throughout the year, but the results were not what I was expecting. In fact, I think it was better.

Not better because I accomplished all the goals. I didn’t. I came close to accomplishing some and utterly failed on some. But one of them literally changed my life.

As our church was preaching, teaching, and discussing God’s grace and it’s effects on our life, I wanted to learn more about grace, pay more attention to the grace applied to my life, and extend grace to others. From sermons, books, conversations, and life experiences—God took me on such an amazing adventure to discover more about His grace. I have not graduated from grace, but this past year has led me to a deeper appreciation and worship for God and His glorious grace!

What’s my goal for 2015?

As I’m becoming more and more aware of my need for Jesus and God’s immense grace to give me all I need in Jesus, I want to experience more of Him. I want to grow in my discipline to spend time speaking to God and listening for His voice. So, for 2015, my goal is to learn more about prayer and be disciplined to pray.

I’ve started by reading some of the writings on prayer by E.M. Bounds. He says:

“For prayer is of transcendent importance. Prayer is the mightiest agent to advance God’s work. Praying hearts and hands only can do God’s work. Prayer succeeds when all else fails. Prayer has won great victories, and rescued, with notable triumph, God’s saints when every other hope was gone. Men who know how to pray are the greatest boon God can give to earth—they are the richest gift earth can offer heaven. Men who know how to use this weapon of prayer are God’s best soldiers. His mightiest leaders.”

This gets me fired up! God, make me disciplined in prayer so that I can be used by You in the things that You are doing!

I’ve always struggled to be disciplined in prayer, but I enter this year wanting and expecting God to change me.

 

Abstract big speech bubbleWe recently started spending time each week thinking through the creative elements for our preteen ministry. (I really want to share more about that process later.) Our worship and planning had basically been an afterthought until now.  Our worship leader is very gifted, and he’s been like a spring rain for me in a dry creative time. After just a few meetings, I already feel like our preteen ministry has become more effective and definitely more creative.

Next week, we’re launching a series on prayer. One thing that came out in the creative planning was that we really wanted to create space for preteens to pray. As we’re talking about what prayer is and how Jesus taught us to pray, it’s important that preteens have space to practice.

Our series artwork has based on a collage of conversation bubbles. Our series point is that prayer is a communication between us and God. As we thought about how to make space for preteens to practice prayer, here are the ideas we’ve come up with:

  • Create a Prayer Time at the end of teaching time for Week 1.
  • During the Prayer Time, each preteen receives a personal size conversation bubble to write or draw their prayers.
  • The “conversation bubbles” will be collected in small group and used to create a large wall mural between Week 1 and Week 2. The “conversation bubbles” will be “collaged” together to form a large conversation bubble on the focal wall of our preteen space.
  • Week 2 will begin with a Prayer Time for preteens and Small Group Leaders. Personal size conversation bubbles will be available to record prayers. They can then be placed on the collage at the focal wall
  • All worship lyrics and Scripture slides will be presented in conversation bubbles on screen to illustrate that these elements are also part of the communication between us and God.

I’m really excited to see preteens using this space for prayer. We want prayer to become an integral part of our preteen ministry, so we plan to keep the theme of conversation bubbles going even after the series.

Here are my questions for you:

1) What is your process for planning the creative elements in your ministry?

2) How do you create space specifically for prayer with your preteens? If you’re a parent of preteens, what has helped them feel comfortable communicating with God through prayer?

Sweet Morning Prayers

October 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

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One morning, I parked the car at school and turned around to talk to my 2-year old daughter. She was having a hard time with being dropped-off at school. And by hard time I mean snotty-nosed crying fits that left me feeling like a terrible father. As we talked, I asked her if she wanted to pray about it. I’d like to say that moment was my wisdom, but it was really just a moment of frustration and desperation!

We prayed a simple prayer that morning, but nothing really changed about the drop-off meltdown. I didn’t think anything else about the prayer until the next morning. As soon as I turned off the car, she said, “Let’s say a prayer?”

That prayer has turned into a moment that we share every time we pull into the parking lot. Before I can even turn the car off, she’s getting excited and ready to pray. Part of it is that she just likes to see her daddy talk with his eyes closed, but I think she also gets the point of Who we’re talking to.

As we were praying this morning, I was just reminded at how important those types of moments are for parents and children. As parents, we are called to disciple our children but we often don’t understand when or how to do this. These moments create a rhythm that is necessary to discuss and model faith.

This rhythm is a routine. It is not necessarily a sit-down Bible study that bores the kids to death. It is infusing Grace and the Gospel into every moment of every day life. These moments are special. They take the ordinary and connect the dots to the extraordinary. They will often lead to other moments. And the goal would be that the whole day is filled with moments that strengthen our faith and bring us closer to God. I think that’s what it means to disciple your children.

I want to find more moments like this to share with my daughter. I want to be constantly looking for teachable moments when I can help her see God’s Grace and the power of the Gospel. Even as a toddler, I want her to understand Who God is, what He has done and what great plans He has for her.

I don’t have it all figured out. No one has called and asked to make a documentary on my life because I’m an expert of discipling my children. I doubt that will happen. But, I’m thankful for our sweet morning prayers and what God is showing us in that time.

A Call to Prayer

January 16, 2012 — 3 Comments

While in class at seminary last week, I was personally challenged and awakened. Dr. Richard Ross (@richardaross) did a great job of opening students’ eyes, but I believe it was God moving me and calling me to action.

I felt the urge to pray and to call parents and leaders to pray as well. I sat in class and heard testimony after testimony of how God moved when His people prayed. I realized that I had never experienced the presence of God in that way, but I so desperately wanted to. And I want parents and preteens to experience His presence as well. I have to admit that my prayer life sucks, but in that moment I felt like God was calling me to pray.

When God calls you to move, you move. So, at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday night I made a move. I typed a short letter to all leaders and parents calling them to unite in prayer on Wednesday, January 18. And at 11:36 p.m., I hit send and I waited.

When I woke up the next morning, I had 15 unread email messages. Between midnight and 6:30 am, 15 parents had committed to praying. And then the number just kept growing. I snapped these screenshots on Friday while I sat in class and watched the number of unread Mail messages grow… (check out the number next to “Mail” at the bottom of the screen and the time at the top of the screen)

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On Wednesday, January 18, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., I’m expecting well over 100 parents praying together for their families and for preteen ministry. It’s amazing to see what God has already done to turn our hearts to prayer, and I can’t wait to see what else He does!

Whether you’re a preteen parent, preteen leader, or someone who just stumbled upon this post, I want to invite you to pray with us. On Wednesday, January 18, between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm, consider taking 10-30 minutes to pray for your family and for preteen ministry.

Wherever you are, just pray. If you would like to pray with us, you can email me and I will send you a prayer guide. The prayer guide will help you to pray for specific things and will give unity to our prayers. It is our desire to see preteens love Christ and follow Him. So, on Wednesday, we will callon His name for just that.