Our church has a 24 hours of prayer and fasting about once or twice a year when we feel we are being called to draw close to God. Sometimes this is due to a challenge we are going though but this most recent time, we were drawing close in a season when we feel God is about to bring a breakthrough! Not only in the life of the church but in the lives of those within the community as well. This 24 hour period of time has just come to a completion.
I want to thank everyone who came on board and fasted and prayed over our church! I am very much looking forward to any personal testimonies, thoughts and impressions as the Holy Spirit moved. I have had several comments though Facebook about the event and others joining in. I believe more than anything else, God was having us toiling the field for what is soon to come but I am aware that He has other things to reveal about Himself along the way.
Personally, I was a little more intimidated then I let on. I had a few blocks totally about 9.5 hours of prayer time. I am not a natural extended remix prayer. I tend to get right to the point and pray as the day goes on often. I have gotten myself to a point of enjoying a half and hour a day of devotions and prayer. However, large chunks of time just praying is not my norm. I was convinced God was calling me to this type of praying for His own reasons and for my own growth. I was convinced that it would work itself out to His glory and that I was worrying for nothing (but none the less, I was still a little worried). I shouldn’t have been…. I was blessed to be part of this as a pastor, as an individual, and as a child of God needing to feel His touch.
I used several different techniques to have beneficial time including journaling, praying the Psalms, praying over individuals, sitting on the front porch in the middle of the night, but the one I love best and don’t do often enough is praying while I drive. I put some miles on the SUV driving to the homes of the elders, some Ministry Support Members, and through communities. It truly helps me to focus and to pray. Sometimes passionately… sometimes gently and just rested and listened for His voice.
Several things happened over the last 24 hours including some spiritual warfare, a challenge to not rest in comfort when others are crying out for help, ideas flowing from nowhere to be jotted down and revisited later….. However, one thing that I came across is my favorite though I don’t fully understand it yet. Maybe it’s for me…. maybe it’s for some one else.
As I drove, I kept praying for God to reveal to me whatever He wished. Just to speak to me, show me something, whatever He wished. After about a 1/2 hour of driving, I noticed two buildings within 10 miles of each other. Many of you have probably seen them so forgive me for being behind the curve. They are two different one room school buildings.
I have seen many around Marion and take note when I do. There are some out where I grew up and there is a sense of history and nostalgia every time I happen across one, let alone two so close together. However, there was a very real difference between the two that gave me two very different impressions.
One that I saw is pretty close to the prison off of 23. as you can see, it has not been well kept. The beat up road was not very inviting as I drove back to the abandoned, beat up brick structure. It was empty, trashy, and reminded me of something you might see in Blair Witch Project as they are running through the woods. The empty house beside it completed the eery feel and I didn’t even get out of the car to take the pics.
The other is on Route 4 a few miles off 23. This one was quite different! The paved parking lot was fresh and newer. Off to one corner was a picnic table inviting any family to take a break from their busy lives in this throw back environment. The building had been renovated, the landscaping was pleasant, the white sign stood out in magnificence against the natural backdrop. I noticed the signage of days the building was open to any one who wanted to retrace the historic past of this little building. Looking in the windows at the rows of desks, you could almost picture the children who are now the elders around us telling us the stories. It was pleasure to walk these grounds, touch the building, and feel a part of it’s community.
Two buildings with similar look and purpose but two completely different feels as one was neglected and one was nurtured.
The way my mind works, I started making several comparisons to why people are drawn to some church and not others. In the same way, why are people drawn to some people and repealed by others. I started my own little lesson plan for an upcoming message to challenge ourselves if we are living nurturing spiritual lives that renovate and attract or are we status quo which leads to a place of complacency that chocks the life out of our witness and relationships.
Then I decided not to. It didn’t feel right. It felt like this was a message for us right now as we complete our 24 hours of prayer and fasting. Not something that I need to knit together for the group but something to present and let the Spirit speak to you concerning our church, our vision, and any personal thoughts He might share with you.
I know we all wish to be associated with the nice, little red schoolhouse. I think for the most part we are. However, I heard some challenges whispered in my ear as I stood there pondering….do you?
Thank you again for all who jumped in and continue to keep our church in prayer! Blessings!