We’re several weeks into 2014 now. As usual, the year started with the flurry of resolutions, goals, vows to do better. Programs got back up and running, and after the busy Christmas season, many of us were happy to settle back into routine. What better way to start our year, to prepare our hearts for what’s to come, than with a week of prayer?
Being relatively new to Forestview, this year was my first time participating in Week of Prayer. I signed up for my hour of prayer, planned to attend a workshop or two and looked forward to seeing what God would do. I don’t think I (or anyone at FV, for that matter) would have told you that prayer didn’t matter or wasn’t important before Week of Prayer, but God had a few things to remind me of.
Prayer is for everyone
Ok, this may sound like a given, but hear me out. Over the course of the week, I ended up attending four of the workshops. One of my favourite parts was just seeing the diversity of people who showed up. But what was really encouraging to me was to see the families who came, kids in tow. I loved that parents made the effort to bring their kids to the evening workshops.
One of the highlights of my week was Tuesday’s devotional prayer workshop, led by two FV families. In my session, the whole family shared in leading – parents and children led us in prayer, song and reflection. And during Friday’s Concert of Prayer, we had people of all ages reading the Bible and praying. What a great way for these kids to participate and for their parents to help them see how important prayer is!
It’s not always comfortable
At the encouragement of my friend Chantale, I offered to lead a session during Monday night’s Lectio Divina (the listening prayer). After asking her what it was/doing some googling, I agreed (see, God will use ANYONE, even a lectio ignoramus like me). There were three of us willing to lead, so in my head I was thinking/hoping that there would be a large group that showed up, maybe some of my friends, and I could lead a small, non-threatening group through the process.
God had other plans. Monday was a cold, blustery night, and only nine of us showed up, several of whom were church staff members, and almost all of whom has participated in Lectio Divina before (except me, the facilitator of the group). As I felt a knot of anxiety growing in my stomach, tried to plead with my eyes for someone else to lead, I heard myself being offered up to lead the session. Gulp.
But you know what? It was fine. After all, I didn’t have to do much. I read the verses, gave a few prompts, and that was it. It was God’s voice we were listening for after all, not mine. Once we heard His word and listened for His voice, we were all in the same boat. I may have been a little out of my comfort zone, but the more steps I take in that direction, the more I find that’s where God meets me.
It’s always a good idea
Personally, the week of Week of Prayer was a stressful one for me. I had a lot going on and was feeling pretty worn out. I drove to one of the workshops with tears in my eyes. Curling up in a ball on the couch would have been pretty appealing, especially with the polar vortex and its icy temperatures raging outside.
But somehow, I managed to get in my car and make it to four of the workshops. As I said to someone Tuesday night, “It’s not like I’m going to look back and regret coming here.” And I didn’t. Even though I was tired, I always went home feeling refreshed, blessed, and glad I came. I know not everyone could make it out to workshops, but we can always pray. How many things in life do we look back on and regret, or wish that we hadn’t wasted time on? I can guarantee you, prayer will never be one of them.
I could keep going, but I’ll leave it there for now. After all, wouldn’t you rather be praying than listening to me talk about it? I think we are so blessed to be part of a church that purposes to set aside a week early in the year to devote to prayer. But Forestview, let’s not stop there. God’s got more in store for us. Let’s make 2014 a YEAR of prayer. Who’s with me?