Well, our quest to be more like the early church and do more of what they would have done when they got together has begun. Our Sunday morning experience at Oasis has been stretched backwards to include a time that is devoted to prayer (nice tie in to one of the past posts, huh?) And we’re trying to build in more times of intentional prayer throughout our Sunday experience. I’m going to describe that to you in the next blog, but I want to point out a profound truth that we have discovered.
We pray…and God moves.
Outrageous, right? Who’d have thunk? Ann and I were driving home Sunday morning and I said, “I don’t want to jump the gun here, but I want to make sure that this is said so that we’re giving the credit where it’s due [this is the way I talk to Ann, wouldn’t you love to be married to me?]. We’ve been praying together for two weeks and God is already doing amazing things!” Ann said, “I know! I feel it too!” Later, my daughter Sarah, as we related that conversation, said she agreed, that everything felt more hopeful. Now there’s more than just the feeling part, but I believe this is a byproduct of praying together, that as we express our dependence on and trust in God, and we pray for and with each other, that hope and joy kind of well up in us and around us. It’s infusing the morning, and quite possibly the rest of our week, with something very positive.
And God has already moved. I said in a message a couple of weeks ago that I don’t understand everything about prayer: why God waits for us to pray; why it matters to God that we pray together; if it matters how many of us pray. I do understand that sometimes when I think God isn’t answering, what I really mean is that He’s not answering how I want him to answer! But if we believed that God loved us and cared for us as a Father, then we would trust Him to do what’s best for us.
That said, we’ve already seen God make what was thought to be a tumor, not a tumor. A job has been gotten. During the prayer time last week a couple was moved to give another couple a car. Yes, you read that right, a car! And that was more about God encouraging the receiving couple in the midst of a difficult time…and about them needing a car! One of us received direction about the job they’re now in. God opened the door for someone to speak Jesus to people we prayed for. I can’t wait to get there Sunday and see how else God has moved! And I absolutely believe it is because we prayed.
I imagine it will take some time for us to grow into this, to see it as more than just a program, something for us to attend. At some point, I hope this entire Sunday morning experience becomes part of the rhythm of our lives, a necessary (indispensable, needed, crucial, essential) part of our life together. Check out the early followers of Jesus, and it says that they had everything in common, and that they took care of each others' needs. Could it be that as they prayer together they found out what the needs were, and were moved to meet them in some way? (Hey, Joseph and Martha, we were praying about you and your transportation needs, here’s a donkey!) All I know is they devoted themselves to collective prayer and God brought the Kingdom. May it be true of us, that we commit to pressing in to the Father together, and allow Him to move for our best.