“…my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:7
God is at work in the hearts of His people! Over the past couple of months, our men’s groups have been reading through a powerful book on prayer called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. Through this book, God has been igniting our souls with a passion for prayer and a deeper dependence on Him. In our own way, we are beginning to understand what Pastor Cymbala did…that “no matter what I preach or what we claim to believe in our heads, the future will depend upon our times of prayer. This is the engine that will drive the church.”
This month we are increasing the ownership of what God is doing in our hearts. Each weekend, we will be prayer walking a 1 mile radius of where God has planted us. We believe that God has placed us in our community with the purpose of bringing hope through the good news of Jesus. On the fourth week of our prayer walking, we will be knocking on doors to introduce ourselves, church, and the gospel. We pray that over the course of this month, our intercessory cries to God will break up the hard soil of our city and prepare the way for the seeds of the gospel to be received.
Please join us in praying for the increased impact of Awakening Church in the Lake Hills area of Bellevue. We are reminded in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” The enemy has a stronghold that will be broken as the people of God cry out for souls to be awakened.
If we don’t do anything else, we have to pray. During the early days of planting Awakening Church, we knew that according to Matthew 16:18, that it was Jesus that was going to build His church, not us. Last year, as we began laying the groundwork for who we desired to be, we went through the book of Acts to discover the core values and principles of the early church. We found that the makeup of the early church was made up of Jesus followers that were dedicated to the gospel, community, mission and prayer.
For me personally, prayer has often taken a backseat to the “active” pursuit of people, systems, and the logistical organization of the church. I know first hand how easy it is to neglect praying for the city to which we were called. Here are a few reasons…
We like to “do” stuff
We may say that Jesus is building the church, but our actions can oftentimes appear the opposite. Our execution of “doing church” can look like we are trying to program our way into a healthy body of believers. We tend to focus on services, groups, classes, and events…and of course these things are important.
However, when it comes to prayer, as my friend Jeff Vanderstelt says, we look like “functional atheists.” We say we believe in the power of God that comes through prayer, but our actions prove we don’t.
We forget the importance
There are many reasons we have for praying, but the primary reason we pray is because prayer is important to God. In the book of Jeremiah, God instructs the prophet to…“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf…” (Jeremiah 29:7)
The command to cry out to God in intercessory prayer for our city is commanded in scripture and not something to be forsaken. As a child of God, wherever you live, work, and play, God has placed you there as His image bearer and ambassador.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 is a constant reminder that the work, glory, or city does not belong to me. This is His work! By the grace of God, making prayer a priority for our city reminds us that God alone saves and God alone deserves the glory.
As disciples of Christ, our primary calling is to be with Him and on mission for Him. In humility, we must admit that we don’t have what it takes to fulfill His mission for us. We need His power! Only He can break up the hard soil of our cities. Building the church isn’t the work, prayer is the work. We were called and sent to plant Awakening Church in Bellevue, Washington. We are crying out to the God that can change hearts. Our city and neighborhoods desperately need the life-giving renewal and restoration that flow from Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
May our lives be marked not only by living on mission in everyday life, but as people who intercede daily on behalf of our cities. We are in the city, for the city.
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