As a local church body, we understand the importance of being united with a vision for our community. We take time to have planning meetings, leadership meetings, work days, etc. Yet the most important aspect too often gets pushed down the list as the 'last' item to tackle. That action item is PRAYER.
While pastoring in Missouri, we experienced such rich times praying over our events and outreaches. The times spent in prayer together knit us more closely as a body as well as brought about significant change in our events. One particular event stands out the most in my mind. We had planned an Easter egg outreach for our community. We were expecting to have over 1,500 attendees from the local area to visit our event. Our agenda not only included the hunt but games, food, door prizes, and a couple of drama/human videos to tie into our time to share the gospel. We had prayer meetings and prayed over every area of the event.
On the day of the event, a severe thunderstorm started to move in. One by one, other hunts near us started being canceled. We had a choice to make. As we had already started setting up in the park under gathering clouds, we chose to bring everyone together and pray for guidance. We felt His peace to proceed with the event and believed God was about to move. AND HE DID!! When it was time to blow that first whistle, clouds had already parted and the event took place under a beautiful blue sky. We had close to 3,000 attend the event. Several people gave their heart to Christ and many were prayed over for other areas in their lives. We rejoiced over the day as we started our cleanup. As soon as the last item was packed away, a deluge of rain and hail descended upon our departing team. But the most amazing thing was the scene we saw as we drove away. All around us, the storm had hit. The only clear spot that day, was over the park while we worked for His kingdom.
But it all started with prayer. Scripture urges us to keep prayer as a vital part of everything that touches our lives.
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thes 5:17
"Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for
all the saints..." Eph 6:18
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16
Just as we partner with our local body to plan an event, we must choose to allow God to be in partnership with every detail. Prayer really does change things - even a storm.