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Posts Tagged ‘corporate prayer’

Paul writes to the elders who “direct the affairs of the church” and I can’t help but wonder, what is this church? Many have written about the church over the centuries and it continues to morph. Today, some are big business while others gather in a private home. What is it for me? You?

I Timothy 5:17
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

There is something about the corporateness of “church” that appeals to me. If I had the time, I’d look up the scripture references to gathering together, supporting one another, and building unity. But for now, I’ll just say, I know, in my heart, that “koinonia” is important.

There is a difference between Church (capital “C”), the greater Body of Christ throughout the world and the sub-unit of the Body, also called church (small “c”). In some cases, those sub-units have become silos and have built walls between their brands of corporate worship and the practices of other groups. They may even worship the same God but too many become suspicious if activities and terminology don’t resonate with their own.

Is church merely a place to worship together? Or is it just a corporate agreement that we share the same God? Is it a family? Or is it better than family? Is it accidental or intentional?

Some will glibly say the church is the people and not the building. And yet, they don’t know the person sitting next to them.

Mike and I are part of the launch of a new church in Havre de Grace called Restore Church. What will that look like? How will it be different, or will it? What does it mean to “do church?” Will we be able to know one another? Will we achieve true koinonia?

Will we get caught up in the government of church or the “affairs of the church” and lose the essence?

There is so much talk about church planting, but what are we planting? Are we putting down roots? Are we nurturing ourselves and others?

For the past twenty years, we have been at the same church, a wonderful mass of people, and yet we felt it was time to move on to experience something else. There was no anger, no complaints, not really, just a languishing feeling. My fear is that it simply comes with my age. Am I simply tired of church in its most traditional sense? What is it I want to experience now?

I have a lot of questions but few answers today. But I know this, it’s important to ask and to seek. It’s important for Spirit to lead.

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Acts 16:13a
On the Sabbath we [Paul and Silas] went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.

Philippi was a Roman colony and apparently had no synagogue. So, knowing this, Paul and Silas headed outside the city to seek out another possible prayer place where people would gather … by the river Gangitis.

Ezekiel writes [47:1-12] that a river symbolizes life. And certainly in any region (particularly a dry one) water is most precious and life giving. Rivers are flowing water and also represent cleansing, washing away dirt (and sin). Other religions also treat rivers as sacred (e.g., the Ganges or Kaveri in India, the Nile in Egypt, the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in former Mesopotamia, now Iraq & Syria).

And so the river outside Philippi was a natural place to go for a number of life-important activities and prayer was one of them. But this place was not just for individual prayer but for corporate prayer. It was a place of safety where people could meet without fear of reprisal (from the local authorities).

The Children of Zion Village near Katima Mulilu, Namibia in Africa is a children’s home that our church created and has supported since 2003. The property is on the beautiful Zambezi River. When the team [including my husband Mike] went to Namibia back in 2002 and walked the property for the first time, they also sat on the upper banks of the river to pray… a moment none of them will ever forget as they experienced a powerful presence of God.

Our small town is blessed to be at the mouth of the Susquehanna, an old lazy river that empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The town fathers were smart enough to build a beautiful promenade that hugs the water for about a 1/2 mile. It has become a place for prayer, for meditation, for contemplation as well as walking and fellowship. The water draws the people.

Until I read this scripture, I had forgotten how many significant experiences I have had at the water’s edge. It’s time to return.

So what is my point in all this? Nothing much, just a simple call for prayer: go to the river. Pray. If you have a river or creek nearby, go there… or a lake or an ocean or a fountain. Go to the water. Go with friends. Meet new friends. Plant your tree of prayer near the water and watch it flourish. I’m going right now.

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