A year of prayer

As part of a districtwide focus, I’ve been reading and meeting with other pastors to discuss Flood Gates: Holy Momentum for a Fearless Church. Among the recommendations in the book is breakthrough prayer. Back in 2015 following Annual Conference, I got excited about breakthrough prayer. For several months I prayer walked through Amazonia on Saturdays — accompanied by Tim and Sharon on a few of those. Then, I got busy with other things and let that focus go.

To be honest, I lost faith in breakthrough prayer. Well, I stopped too soon. Breakthrough prayer is back, and I’m asking that beginning next month, we will spend the next year in prayer. What does that mean?

First, it means that at least once a month my Sunday message will focus on some particular aspect of prayer.

Second, it means that all of us — young and old — will become more practiced and proficient in our praying. We will pray in public, and we will pray in private. We will pray together, and we will pray alone. We will embrace the belief that prayer is all-powerful. And we’ll put that belief into practice.

Third, it means that we will have several special prayer events during 2018, such as guest preachers and singers who will help us stay focused on and excited about our prayer lives. Yeah, I’d also still like to look at hosting a tent meeting or revival sometime during 2018.

Fourth, it means that I’m going to restart prayer walking, but we’ll handle that differently this time. Stay tuned.

Finally, it means that I’m inviting you to join me in daily prayer, what I’m calling 2018 prayer. If you were in the military, you know what time it is at 2018. Of course, it’s 8:18 p.m. So, I’m going to ask you to set your watches or your phones or whatever for 8:18 each evening. At that moment, I’ll ask that you pause whatever you’re doing and spend a few moments in prayer. And what to pray for?

Four things:

  • We will pray that our heavenly Father will renew and revive Amazonia United Methodist Church, unleashing new life and building new community.
  • We will pray for each and every person attending Amazonia United Methodist, that our Lord may empower us to follow in his footsteps and do his will in all things.
  • We will pray for the Holy Spirit to transform and use us boldly, without limits, to reach and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  • And we will leave a spot in our 2018 prayers for special needs, requests, and thanks.

I’ll make up cards that we can carry in your pockets, purses, or wallets to help us focus on these points. They’ll look like this:

I can’t think of a better time for us to launch this prayer campaign. We have just begun a new year — a time that is traditionally filled with promise and potential.

I hope and pray that this will be life-changing for all of us — and for others who may join us.

And all God’s people said, “AMEN.”