Learning About Prayer Cultures
Recently, I had an opportunity to travel to St. Louis with a couple of my co-workers to meet with a pastor named Jim and his prayer leadership team. Jim pastors a 700 member “prayer-centered” church called Destiny Church. For the past six years, the structure of Destiny Church and all of their activities flow from the central value that Jesus is worthy of all worship, adoration, and agreement. This means that the majority of their resources, energy, and focus is spent building a church culture where continual ministry to God (prayer) is expected and normal. Additionally, as a church, they host 24 hours of church-wide prayer meetings throughout the week. This is remarkable! We were really blessed to be able to visit Jim and dialogue with him how to resource pastors who desire to shift the culture of their churches to become prayer-centered communities. I cannot overstate how important our time at Destiny was! I really sensed that the Lord imparting wisdom, understanding, and strategy to our team as these leaders shared their experiences of the last six years.
The men and women of Destiny Church have a vision to see the body of Christ enter into their eternal calling as a kingdom of priests before God. One of the prayer leaders put it this way: “Prayer can’t simply be something that we strongly agree with or believe in as Christians… but we must see prayer as the sole characteristic that defines us as believers. We commune with God.” This statement may seem imbalanced if we think of prayer only as the religious activity wherein we talk to God and ask Him for things. When we consider prayer from an eternal perspective, however, and realize that it is the all-encompassing calling of our lives in which we give God our attention and commune with Him, then we can see the bigger picture of why this value must be the center of our church culture. God is building a dwelling place with men on the earth, and its epicenter is the place where people sing of His glory and agree fully with His heart.
Surprised With a Generous Gift!
For the past four to five months, Stephanie and I have been casually talking about our need for a larger vehicle. After John was born, we quickly realized why families typically drive in vans– babies come with a lot of stuff and do not travel light! For family and ministry reasons we have been traveling often, primarily to Chicago. We have been so fortunate to have had such a nice and reliable car for the last few years, but long road trips have been difficult. Back in January, I began to research what our options were in finding a larger vehicle. I soon stopped the search as we did not have the means to move forward with a purchase and remain debt free. Also, as we asked the Lord what we should do the phrase, “Wait and be content” came to my mind, so we put the request for a larger vehicle in the back of our personal prayer list.
Just before this past Mother’s Day, we received a call from Stephanie’s mother and step-father, Sue and Steve, who live in Iowa. They called to tell Stephanie that as a Mother’s Day present for our growing family, they wanted to buy us a reliable minivan! We continued our research and found an amazing minivan made by Ford called a Transit Connect Wagon. This is by far the nicest car that we have ever owned and it feels unreal. Every time I get in it I feel like I am driving a new rental. Our new van seats 7, has about as much head room as my old school bus, and has 104 cubit feet of cargo space for us to haul John’s entire room! I think this vehicle will meet our family’s needs for a long time to come. Thank you, Sue and Steve, and thank You, Jesus! This generous gift from our family was a complete surprise and a very real answer to prayer.