Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Last Sunday, I shared with you that the Lord is calling Immanuel into five weeks of prayer for our neighborhoods and counties, shining a light (remember the headlamp!) on people and situations that need God’s attention. Drawing on Matthew 16:13-27, I offered the acronym A.S.K. for remembering three principles to guide our prayers:
· Authority of the Church – With Jesus as our King, we bring the authority of heaven to bear on earth.
· Set our minds on the things of God – Rather than assuming we know what “should” happen, listen to Jesus. Ask the Spirit to reveal the plans and purpose of the Father.
· Know the life of a disciple – We are to lose our lives, to sacrifice our time, energy, reputations, and agendas as we follow Jesus into God’s future.
I’m inviting you to join me in A.S.K.-ing God to intervene in the lives of our neighbors over the next five weeks. Each Sunday we’ll reflect on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, allowing Scripture to shape our prayer. This week, for example, Paul falls to his knees before the Father, asking that the people of Ephesus would come “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [they] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3.19). At least once this week, walk the streets of your neighborhood or the halls of your work, praying for people know this love. Walking – Prayerwalking – is a key part of this call. Grace flows into us and through us in a unique way as we walk and pray. I love these words from an organization called Waymakers (waymakers.org):
“When we live at too fast a pace, we can miss God’s invitations to become part of the story He’s unfolding in people’s lives. Prayerwalking is a way to slow down and begin to naturally pick up on the concerns of God. His heart begins to merge with ours. We allow what causes Him excitement or anguish to affect us in the same way.”
Take a look at the Prayerwalking Guide on our website (iachurch.org). One page gives instruction from Waymakers for how to prayerwalk; the other provides weekly guidance for prayer arising from our sermon series on Ephesians 1-3. Each week I will also teach a few more things about prayerwalking. For those who are unable to walk, sit by your window or on your porch, or bring up your neighborhood on Google Maps (go to maps.google.com and type in your address). Our physical limitations in no way limit our God!
On Sunday, I referenced three significant forces currently shaping all our lives – injustice, politics, and COVID-19. These next five weeks of prayer are an opportunity to lose our lives, to listen to Jesus, and to bring the authority of heaven to bear on these things of earth. I’m confident that as we enter October, the Spirit will have revealed to us more of what Immanuel’s part is in fulfilling God’s “plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in [Jesus], things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). And our part will be specific to our neighborhoods and counties.
In fact, we’re already preparing ways for us to share with each other what we’ve learned on our prayerwalks, and ways for us to take the next steps in participating in God’s plan. There’s more to come!
Your Pastor in Christ,