Tuesday, February 3

Busy Doing Church = Too Busy for God

One of my "four words" for 2009 (see one of last month's posts) is Reflect. This speaks to my need to slow down and build time for reflection and extended prayer into my life. It sounds great, but it's easier said than done. The responsibilities of life and ministry, and the resulting "to-do lists", never leave room in life for reflection and extended prayer. If they are going to happen, they will happen because I make them happen - because I make time in my schedule and guard it jealously. Most who are in ministry and leadership can relate to the struggle.

Most ministries and churches suffer from the same issue on a corporate scale. We have let ourselves become convinced (duped) that the most important part of the Christian life is knowledge and content. We need another sermon, another lesson, another seminar, another conference, another book. We schedule one more meeting and listen to one another talk. Rarely do we make time to corporately come before God in prayer - to be still and seek Him and listen to Him and know Him. I'm convinced that we have done the Church a disservice in this.

This school year we have set aside a Tuesday each month to do that - to spend an hour with no singing, no teaching, just praying. We set up prayer stations and provide prayer guides to those who want them and then turn our students loose to just pray: for themselves, each other, our campus, our world, and more. Some are a little skeptical at first. But once they have experienced it, they love it and look forward to those weeks.

Last week was to be our prayer night, but the ice storm canceled all activities. So tonight we faced a decision that tested what we valued. Do we go ahead with our scheduled apologetics series (which is an important area for any Christian, but especially college students) or do we cancel the teaching and make up the prayer night?

As the one teaching, part of me wanted to get to the subject matter. It's important stuff on the nature and character of God. But the truth is that our students need time with God more than another lesson from me. So we postponed the regularly scheduled programming and spent the night praying together.

It was the right choice. It is always exciting and humbling to be in a room full of college students who spend an hour praying for their campus and world.

Too often I let our ministry get too busy to do that. I think my words are more important than their personal interaction with God. My guess is that your church probably does that, too.

Build time in your life to reflect and pray.
Build time in the life of your church or ministry to reflect and pray.
Jesus did it on a regular basis.
In fact, he didn't start his ministry until he had spent 40 days doing it.
Maybe he was on to something ...

1 comment:

kate said...

i LOVE prayer :) have you read Punk/Monk or Red Moon Rising? i haven't read red moon, but punk monk is by the same guys i guess, if you've heard of 24/7 prayer movement you've heard their story. very exciting. -kate