February 23, 2017
Lent begins next week. This period of fasting and meditation starts on Ash Wednesday (March 1) and runs until Holy Saturday (April 15). People all over the world use the forty days of Lent to prepare themselves spiritually for the most important event in the Christian calendar, Easter.
We want to prepare for Easter in the best way possible—with prayer. In fact, as part of our involvement in the district’s Next Level Innovations program, Galilee is making a special push for more prayer across the board in 2017.
We’re going to begin that this Lent with a 40-day Prayer Journey…and we’re going to arm you with a couple of prayer tools.
You will find Mark Batterson’s book available in our lobby or anywhere books are sold.
First of all, we’re recommending a 40-day devotional by local pastor Mark Batterson, who leads the National Community Church in Washington, DC.
If you are interested in a bold and invigorated prayer life, this book is perfect as a private Lenten devotional. There is a path to a deeper, more passionate, persistent, and intimate prayer life and Mark Batterson clearly reveals the way in Draw the Circle.
Pastor Jason met Mark Batterson recently at his coffee shop/church near Capitol Hill. “I didn’t know what to expect, as this guy is a bestselling author many times over, but he’s just as approachable and friendly as you could like. A group of us, spurred on by the NLI team, met Mark at the Ebenezer Coffee House, one block from Union Station. It used to be a derelict property, but its been redone to resemble a Starbucks. I say “redone,” perhaps I should say “reclaimed,” because this little building used to be a crack house and Mark turned it into a church. How? He used the power of prayer.”
The Ebenezer Coffee Shop, before and after the hard work that began with prayer.
“Mark literally walked around the run-down building and asked God what to do about it. This began a pattern in Mark’s life—walking in circles, praying. Today, Mark walks a four mile circle around the capital. God leads him to pray for homes, buildings, neighborhoods, and people. If you are worried about our government and our DC neighborhoods, look at what Mark is doing. He isn’t worrying. He’s praying.”
“Reading Mark’s books,” Jason says, “I have come to see the value in a repetitive prayer pattern like a circle, which Mark has made his own. For instance, when I am going over the concerns put before me by the church, sometimes I will circle the name of the person that I am praying for or I will circle their concern. It aids in concentrating my heart and mind. We also have a Prayer Wall up in the office, with circular slips of paper that we can write prayers on.”
The office Prayer Wall. Come post your own prayer/concern.
“At the end of the day, though, what is important is not the shape of your prayer pattern. It’s that you have a pattern! It is so good to bring frequency and regularity to bear on your conversation with God, and Mark’s devotional is going to help you with that.”
“Also sometimes, we need a reminder to pray.”
“As part of our Lenten prayer journey, we’re going to be handing out a very solid reminder, prayer rocks, at both services on Sunday, February 26.”
Galilee will be handing out engraved prayer rocks like this one at worship services this weekend.
“As a human being,” says Jason, “I am a material creature. If I’m going to remember something, I need a tangible reminder. That goes for grocery lists, it goes for running errands. It goes for prayer.”
“What are you to do with an engraved rock? Maybe you put it on your desk. Maybe you keep it by the kitchen sink or you place it in your garden. I have mine in my pocket, but I can imagine it living for a time in my car console or even the drawer where I keep my journal.”
“This rock is a small gift from our church, an encouragement as we begin the season of Lent. It’s a reminder to pray. Pray with words, or silently. Pray with a plan, or wing it. However you feel called, just pray.”
“I hope that these stones will help our people remember that prayer is our foundation and God is our rock:
“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.” (Psalm 78:35).
“Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.” (Isaiah 28:16).