Monday, June 2, 2014

Why I'm Praying For Your Church

Photo: OZinOH, Creative Commons, cc license
I keep thinking about him this week. He who had been so hurt and broken, and who had set the town on fire.

A day later and the city is still buzzing. This man whom they had grown so accustomed to seeing bent up and begging under the Gate Beautiful was now walking whole-limbed and limber throughout Jerusalem--leaping even--and saying God had done this.

Low-lying cirro-nimbus clouds fly past above the fence line and treetops, white wisps in a blue sky that bely a summer evening of 7:45 already. Verdant green canopies sway in an evening breeze. Silver dogwood underbelly leaves flash golden twilight, while my son mows trenches through knee-high grass and puffed dandelion heads. Wind chimes act as windsocks, blowing melody to the west. Deck shadows grow long and a blazing orange sun sits twenty degrees above the horizon.

Yesterday afternoon, sneakers thudding and walkman blasting, I ran past a church. The red blinking sign told me the days and times for youth programs and Sunday worship. And I smiled and prayed for that church, for the teens and families who streamed through their doors each week, and for their pastors. I prayed blessings on them: that God would use their ministries wildly. I prayed protection for them: for their pastors, ministries, leaders, volunteers, and attendees. I ran past sweating and smiling, praying for their church to grow in numbers and depth.
Photo: Neil Howard, Creative Commons, cc license
Because the business advertisers have it wrong. Churches aren't in competition with each other. Churches are not vying for most popular. 

Our jobs as people in the pews is to love God, to love and serve others, and to "never stop speaking about what we have seen and heard [God do]." Like Peter and John in the stirred-up city of Jerusalem with The Man Formerly Known as the Cripple following them around, jumping and jiving in his newly-healed legs.

We're not in competition as churches, we are in community and in common. And we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard God do.

So, I'm praying for your churches, as I pass them, think of them, or think of you. Will you pray for mine too? "Salvation is found in no one else" and we can't help speaking about our God!


(Linking too with gentle Ann in thanks.) 


21 comments:

Bill (cycleguy) said...

I welcome your prayers Jennifer. i will be glad to commit to praying for yours. just give me the name if you want.

TC Avey said...

So much of the NT is about unity inside the church. It's time we did start praying for each other, start supporting each other instead of squabbling over petty issues.

John 13:35 came to mind as I read this.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Bill,

Yes, I'll pray for your church when God brings it to mind and would welcome that for mine as well. It's "Living Faith Church." Thanks.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Kdsullivan said...

I too find myself praying for churches as I drive by. I am th Executive Director of an awesome organization called Love INC. At Love INC we mobilize the local church to transform lives and communities in the Name of Christ. That's just a fancy way of saying that we work interdenominationally to meet needs in th community. It is a beautiful thing to watch the Body of Christ in action.

Jennifer Dougan said...

TC,

So true, and what neat community we have when we do pray for and support each other, huh? It's beautiful, attractive, and yes, shows Jesus well.

Thanks,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Ceil said...

Hi Jennifer! I am coming over from Bill's blog.

I love the fact that you pray for all churches. We should! The fact that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ binds us together in his body. And I love the line about not being in competition. So many churches get caught up in numbers. We should be getting caught up in our souls.
Nice to meet you today :)
Ceil

Richelle Wright said...

Love what you've shared, here, Jennifer. So true - and wish it was more common.

Thanks for visiting and saying hi this week.

Blessings,
Richelle

Becky Keife said...

Inspired by your humble heart to take God's Word as vibrant truth and live it out every day. Blessed to be link-up friends at Ann's. Eucharisteo! -Becky

passagethroughgrace said...

Thank you for the affirmation that we are not in competition as churches but in common to love and serve the Lord and each other. I love the idea of praying for each other's churches. What a huge idea and a great way to begin change. Happy Tuesday to you! Mary

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you for your prayers & for your beautiful post! All born-again believers are part of His church, and you are so right -- we should love and pray for one another, not compete with each other.
Thanks for visiting & commenting on Saved by Grace! God bless,
Laurie

elizabeth said...

I really love and appreciate this post, Jennifer!

Pamela said...

Yes, dear Jennifer, I will pray for your church. And am honored you would pray for mine. What a beautiful idea.

Jennifer Dougan said...

KD,

So nice to have you here! Welcome. Love INC sounds like a helpful para-church organization with its desire to come alongside churches, communities and individuals. Fun!

Have a great week,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Ceil,

Lovely to meet you! Thanks for stopping over from Bill's site. Glad to have you here.

Yes,the unity we have in Jesus with strangers, friends and new acquaintances is a beautiful thing, isn't it?!I've seen it all over the world and yet it never ceases to amaze me.

Have a great week,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Richelle. Nice to talk with you again.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Becky,

Lovely to have you here, after linking up through Ann Voskamp's blog.

God's word is so powerful and active, huh? It encourages me, I know.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Mary at Passage Through Grace,

Yes! Praying for each other, loving and serving God together.

Nice to have you here,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Laurie,

"We should love and pray for one another, not compete with each other." -- yes! I agree. Thanks for stopping in. So encouraging and unifying that way, huh?

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. Nice to have you here. Forgive my delay in replying. :)

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Pamela.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

stuckinindiana said...

Hi Jennifer :) Are you still posting through Ann's website? I haven't seen a place to share posts in quite sometime. I miss seeing others & I miss sharing my own notes. Send an email when you get a chance to me at stuckinindiana(at)hotmail(dot)com

Thanks,
Indiana Girl :)