Yesterday was a lost work day. Typically, Monday is my big sermon study day. This Monday, however, was different. My mom was going in to the hospital yesterday morning for a surgery that the doctor had described as “high-risk” – two words one rarely wants to hear about any situation, particularly if it’s medical. So, early yesterday morning I packed up my Bible and iPad, swung by to pick up my brother who had flown in for the surgery, and headed to the hospital. I figured that once the surgery began, there would be hours where I could pull away and get a jump-start on my studying.
Yeah…that didn’t happen.
I did manage to get my Bible out and read half a chapter before putting it back down. There was no way I was going to be able to focus on anything until the doc came out with his post-op report. Now, here I am this morning with both a blog and a sermon to write. Mr. Efficiency tells me that the best plan of attack would be to combine the two (Mr. Efficiency is the name of the productive voice in my head that I typically ignore in favor of Mr. Overthink It and Mr. You’ve Got All Day). As much as I hate to admit it, Mr. Efficiency may be right here.
This Sunday, I’m taking a break from our Under the Crown series on the kings of Israel and Judah for our combined community service. Because it is a community-focused Sunday during Strasburg’s biggest community celebration of the year – Hometown Days – I’m going to talk about, you guessed it, community. We have the great privilege of being located in Strasburg, Colorado – and with great privilege comes great responsibility.
There was something my dad said when he preached in our church a couple days ago that has stayed with me. He challenged us to pray for our community. That sounds like such a benign statement – “Of course, Steve, everyone should be praying for their community.” But his point was that we need to kick those prayers into overdrive. He said we need to be walking the neighborhoods and driving the streets praying for the people in the houses we pass. He said that we need to intentionally and consistently ask God to allow us to be His light in Strasburg and the surrounding towns. If there is nothing else that we take away from his message, I hope this sustains.
Prayer brings unity, and it is this unity that will allow us to impact our community. First, prayer brings unity with God. It unifies us to His will. It allows us to say, “Not our will, but your will be done.” As my dad, my brother, myself, and the surgeon stood holding hands around my mother yesterday, this was the prayer my dad prayed. We didn’t want to bend God to our wills, we wanted God to unify us with His will.
There is no doubt that the Lord has called us at SCC to reach Strasburg and Bennett and Byers and Watkins and Deer Trail for Him. Although we know God’s will, it isn’t easy to be connected to it on a consistent basis unless we are always putting it in the forefront of our minds. Life – our personal lives and our church life – crowd in on our focus and time to the point that our mission gets pushed out. Directed, intentional prayer allows the Holy Spirit to not only reshuffle our priorities to match His priorities, but opens the door for Him to show us how He plans on us getting His will done.
The second area in which prayer brings unity is with each other. Yesterday was an amazing prayer day. Prayer for my mom extended beyond family, the city, and the nation to the world. At the hospital, some dear friends and some members of my mom’s Bible study came to wait and pray (there were also a few of you who offered to come down that I waved off). Around Parker and Denver and Strasburg and the I-70 corridor, many took time to lift my mom up to the Lord. Beyond California, there were fellow believers in California and Minnesota and Pennsylvania and Florida and South Carolina and Illinois and many other states who united together to bring this one woman before God’s throne. But it didn’t end there. At one point, my dad looked at his post on Facebook in which he had asked for prayer and saw a number of names appearing that he had never seen before. My brother, Rick, said, “Oh, those are Kenyans who are praying for mom.” There were comments as well from Uganda and Israel and other places around the world. God’s global family united in action for the life of one sister in the Lord.
As we at Strasburg Community Church take our mandate seriously to reach out to our community, God will unite us like never before. We’re already a wonderful loving family, now we need to be bound together into a powerful ministry team. That will begin on our knees, as individuals and as a church. The Lord demonstrated powerfully yesterday that He is a God who answers prayers. Let’s put Him to the test in this area, too, and see what amazing miracles He will do through SCC to bring the I-70 corridor to Christ.