The following post is a recap of An Evening of Prayer, an event held on May 25, 2017 with our ministry partners, IF:Dayton.
Prayer is not secondary. It is not optional. It is not dessert!
Prayer is primary. It is essential. It is the main course!
God has been teaching our ministry and me personally that prayer is not "extra credit" in the Christian life, but rather a defining characteristic of people who love and follow Jesus. When we pray to the one true God, we enter into a relationship with Him. We are listening and talking, getting to know Him, learning how to be like Him. We are no longer looking at the distractions of this world or to ourselves. No, we are looking to God, focusing our eyes, hearts, lives totally around Him. Ah! What relief! There you are, Lord! What a joy when we seek Him and find Him! When He shows us Himself through prayer! When He cups our chin and takes our hand and leads us in the way everlasting!
When we pray to our Father, we are right where we were always supposed to be.
I once heard John Piper share that as he was studying the Word one day, he shut his Bible abruptly. He realized he had not yet prayed over his study. This great modern theologian chuckled at himself, thinking it was truly comical to believe he could understand anything about God's Word without inviting God's Holy Spirit into the process.
It is also true with us, sisters. DWITW's entire ministry is dedicated to understanding God's Word; yes. However, only through God can we accomplish this. We desperately need God to help us understand His Word, to make our hearts ripe for the conviction it brings, and to change us. Without prayer, we have no true relationship with the Lord. Without prayer, we are merely making ourselves acquainted with facts and history and numbers. Without prayer, God's Word is just another book.
With prayer, however, the Holy Spirit uses the Word to change everything. Our ministry will do nothing in the hearts of the women of our city unless faithful prayer is our foundation.
Last week, we led one another to follow this conviction to our knees. DWITW had the privilege of partnering with IF: Gathering Dayton in an evening of prayer held at Good Samaritan Hospital's chapel. As the sunset streamed through the stained glass, we held one another's hands in deep intercessory prayer.
The night began as Breanna McGowen opened our time of prayer with her gift for Spoken Word. Following that, we heard the Lord's Prayer in three different languages. As I listened, I thought once again that heaven must sound a little like this, all tribes and tongues communing with God. Emily and Nehemiah Park, worship leaders at Christian Life Center, then led us in a time of singing.
Throughout the evening, ministry leaders serving all over the Dayton region led us in four separate calls to prayer. These prayer calls were modeled after Jesus' High Priestly Prayer in John 17. Together, we answered the call to offer our gratitude; to pray for God's people, the church; to pray for the world; and to pray for unity and love. We responded by praying corporately, individually and in small groups. As time allowed, we prayed over the suggested additional Scriptures that went with each call to prayer.
IF:Dayton provided a prayer journal modeled after Jesus' prayer that served as the framework of the evening. If you did not get to attend the evening of prayer, you can download the PDF of the prayer journal here.
Jesus modeled for us how to pray in John 17. As we practiced this discipline together, we were reminded that the call to prayer did not end when we said 'Amen.' The call to prayer is ever present for the Christian and essential in our daily lives. Will you join our ministries in this call to pray? Will you allow your knees to hit the floor, even now, and join us in prayers of gratitude, for God's church, the world, and for unity and love? Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Jillian Vincent loves Jesus. She's a wife, mother of two boys and a Dayton enthusiast. Jillian currently is a stay at home mama and spends nap times jotting on her blog and discipling other women. She would (almost) die for an avocado, a cup of coffee made by her husband, a novel that makes her cry, and a bouquet of sunflowers.