So it finally happened. After about 6 weeks of writing 5 times a week, I missed a day. Yesterday I took some time off to go to a movie with my wife because I have been working a lot of evenings. After the movie I looked at my phone and saw several missed calls from both my mom and my brother. Immediately I knew something had happened with my dad. The rest of the day was taken up with phone calls back and forth and trying to look at the ever changing options for air fares. Fortunately, today I can say that my dad is doing great. We’re still not sure exactly what happened, but a lot of the really bad possibilities have been ruled out so that is a very good thing.
So that’s my excuse – it was a pretty crazy day yesterday!
I have been using Wednesdays to write about “The Church and the Word” and have mostly been writing about the Mission Statement and Core Values of Orchard Community Church were I serve as the Senior Pastor. This incident actually helps me do something that I’ve been thinking about anyway. I am going to start writing these posts on Thursdays. Every week the church sends out an email about what’s going on at the church and I include a link to my post from Wednesdays. If the email goes out on Thursdays, it makes more sense to have it link to the post from that day. You probably don’t care about my daily blog post schedule, but just in case, there’s the explanation.
Core Value #2 of Orchard Community Church is that we are “Dependent on God.” Here is the longer explanation:
We are committed to daily intimate fellowship with God. Through steadfast prayer, we glorify God by honoring His name, seeking His kingdom, and submitting to His will. It is our individual and corporate responsibility to ensure that all aspects of life, ministry and fellowship are preceded, undergirded, and empowered by prayer. We believe that nothing of lasting eternal value will happen apart from dependent and faith-driven prayer. (Luke 11: 1-12; Ephesians 3:20-21; Colossians 4:2)
Earlier in the week I wrote about the fact that God is always present with us. Because of God’s gracious presence, we can depend upon Him for everything. So what does this look like? How do we do this?
I love the phrase, “It is our individual and corporate responsibility to ensure that all aspects of life, ministry and fellowship are preceded, undergirded, and empowered by prayer.” Prayer is the outward act of a heart that is depending on God. It is the expression of life that is lived in the recognition that God is present and powerfully at work.
Carving time out daily for prayer is really important. When we do this, we are declaring that God is most important in our lives. We are thinking about things in terms of His will and plan rather than just ours. We are seeking His guidance and direction in everything we do. Making time to pray is an act of worship that shows that God is not just somewhere on the list of priorities in our life, He is the #1 priority and everything else that has importance in our lives finds its meaning in Him.
But specific time in prayer is just the beginning. Scripture says to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What is that about? God isn’t just present with us when we stop to pray. He is present always – when your boss calls you and says he needs to meet immediately; when you look at your bank account and can’t figure out how you’re going to make it through the next few months (weeks…days?); when you look at your phone and see a bunch of missed calls from family members and you know someone you love is in trouble. Since this is true, we can and should pray continually. As we reach for the phone to make or take that difficult call we can pray. As we go to work in the morning we can pray. As we walk into a room we know our kids just trashed, we can pray. Whatever we are doing, whatever we are going through, we can pray to God and ask that we can follow Him and display His glory in that situation.
Did you know that a group of people spends time in prayer before every worship service at Orchard? Why do you think this happens? Why do you think we post a list of daily Scripture readings on the back of the weekly sermon notes? Why do you think I write these posts each week? Why do we even have a Mission Statement and list of Core Values at all? It’s because we are completely and totally dependent on God and we will do anything and everything to remind ourselves of this and to live this out as a church and as individuals. Since we do what we do for God, not us, we must depend on Him for everything so that He gets the glory and we get to grow and learn more about Him.
photo by Flickr user Giampaolo Squarcina