Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confession Flows

We are following an ACTS model on Monday nights for our prayer service. ACTS is Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, & Supplication. We try and incorporate all four of these types of prayer into the hour. Sometimes one of the facets will end up dominating the time. Monday night this week was heavy on the Confession side.

James 5:16 says:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

I think all of us would love to pray prayers that have great power and produce wonderful results. I hear the last part of James 5:16 quoted often. Yet the first part of James 5:16 I think sets the tone for the last. Before we can have great power and wonderful results in our prayers we have to be willing to confess our sins and pray for one another.

There is something about the confession of sin to one another that scares us. We are afraid of how we might be seen by others. In a public prayer gathering, isn't this someones fear, that their sins might become known or they would have to confess them.

Monday night something significant happened. After a worship set, that was purposefully slower than usual, we asked for people to come to the mic if they wanted to confess sin, either something they did or we as a group had done. As the leader opening a mic for confession of sin is one of those times where you hope you are hearing Gods guidance well. No-one could come up or someone could come up and spend the hour on their personal sin list. Neither of these is a good option.

I gave some guidance and asked our people to confess at the most two sins on the mic and if they had more then to spend time with God confessing others. It was one of those times that ended up leading itself. It took a minute for the first person to come up, but that seemed to release what God was doing and person after person came forward. A grade schooler asking for forgiveness for being disrespectful to her parents, a 40 something asking for forgiveness for taking over her life and not allowed God to be in control, a man asking for forgiveness for how he treated his girlfriend, a teen dealing with lust, a mom dealing with being ugly to her kids, another teen asking God to forgive the youth for getting distracted from following God, and on and on people came. They were vulnerable before God and each other.

Obviously because of how we spent the time, the night was heavier, it was convicting, it was challenging. We finished with some prayer ministry time for people dealing with rejection and for our staff.

Elements that worked tonight:
Having a worship time that was more dialed down. This seemed to be conducive for a night of confession.

Opening the mics and asking people to come forward and confess sin.

Memorable moments & phrases:
To our youth: Take your place in this movement of God.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Global Prayer

Each week at Monday Night Prayer there is an overarching theme.  We have four key themes for our prayer times.  First Mondays are vision prayer, second mondays are ministries focus, third mondays are missions focus and fourth mondays are for intimacy and revival.  This week was week three and we focused on praying for missions.

We began in adoration.  Our worship team did 3 songs.  We then began sharing stories of answered prayer.  We shared about a lady having God heal her ear last week at prayer.  We shared about our weekend services, how many had committed their lives to Christ and some comments.  We shared a prayer miracle that had happened in India recently with some of our missions partners there.  We shared some comments off of Kale Yorks blog as he and a team from YWAM are in Thailand and India.  Hearing how God is answering prayer encourages our faith as we continue to pray.

Then Coby Colley came up and shared with us what is happening in India with Asian Partners.  We let everyone pray for three specific items related to their ministries.  We prayed for Kale and his team and one other young man who was headed to YWAM.

We then asked people to come up to the mics and pray short prayers for missionaries they knew in many countries.  We had 20 - 30 people come up and pray for missionaries. We ended our time with a prayer ministry time.  We asked those who needed courage for something they were facing to stand and we had our people gather around them and pray for them.

What a privilege to support missions around the world in prayer.  We desire to have a global awareness and be available for God to use us around the world in prayer or in obedience in any other way.
Elements that worked tonight:
Having people greet one another at the very front end.

Memorable moments & phrases:
Courage is not the absence of fear, it is going forward even though their is fear.
We are responsible for our generation - Keith Green

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nothing Compares to His Embrace

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

from Forever Reign by Hillsong Live

The force that makes Monday Nights so powerful at Experience Life is the real and tangible sense of Gods presence with us.  I think all of us who have come to pray recognize this fact.  When the Lord shows up in tangible ways we all leave the time changed.  Sometimes the change is encouragement, sometimes inspiration, sometimes fulfillment, other times excitement that we have prayed according to His will and believe we will see Him work.

Monday night was one of those nights that seemed like His presence was a little more tangible than usual.  When I walked in the rink to prepare I recognized that tangible presence.  As our intercessors prayed before the time began, there was the reality of his presence, as the video played worship before we began there was the awareness that Jesus was there.  Our 1 hour of prayer sailed by and even afterward encouragement from His presence.  I got home around 8:45 and I just sat in my living room quiet or an hour because I still sensed God upon my heart.  The conclusion I have about all of this is that God is among us and directing our paths.

We opened with a scripture reading from Psalms and a prayer.  We went into 3 songs, one was "forever reign" by Hillsong.  Our people really connected as we sang.  We finished with "worthy of affection".  We then moved into a prayer ministry time.  We prayed for ears that weren't working and for knees.  We moved to some thanksgiving.  This is the time we share how God has answered prayer the previous week.  We then moved into corporate prayer topics such as praying for obedience to be in our churches dna, we prayed for people who were lost, we prayed for our lifehouse leaders (having them stand and surrounding them in prayer circles) and we prayed for the many requests we get each weekend.

We concluded the time praying for anyone dealing with alot of fear recently.  Clayton our lifehouse pastor came up and gave a final blessing and prayer.  And people came to pray with our prayer teams up front at the end.

Elements that worked tonight:
Introduction of "forever reign" in worship.

Kneeling after worship for a time of confession and asking God to fill us and empower us in all we do.

Memorable moments & phrases:

Vague confession equals vague forgiveness. You aren't really sure you are forgiven if you haven't confessed specifically. 

If we are not careful we judge the power of prayer on our past experience and not Gods word.    

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Show Me Your Heart, Show Me Your Way, Show Me Your Glory

Show Me Your Heart, Show Me Your Way, Show Me Your Glory is a line from one of the worship songs we did last night at Monday Night Prayer.  This is a cry in our hearts as we seek God. We understand that if God doesn't intervene in our lives, in the lives of people in our city and in our area, we can not find Him.  We understand that if we don't connect to God in prayer and see His presence and power move among us we are in trouble.  Then we're left to our own devices, our own power and that won't get anything eternal done in this life.

Last night the challenge was not to pray little prayers to a little God, but to pray Big prayers to our Big God.  He is the king of the universe.  He is the one who reigns over all things.  In Him is supreme power.  Along those lines we prayed for God to bring revival to our city and our nation.  We asked God for a break out of salvations all over our city, not just in our church.

We took time and prayed for our elementary, jr. high, and high school students.  We prayed big prayers that God would use them mightily.  We had people gather around them, put a hand on their shoulder and prayed for them, then someone would follow praying on a mic for the whole group.

I read Deuteronomy 32:11.  The scene is the mother eagle stirring up her nest and teaching her young ones to fly.  She does that in two ways.  First she takes the soft portions out of the nest so the young eagles will not stay in the comfort of the nest and will have to come to the top. Under the soft parts are glass, thorns, and other sharp objects.  The affect is making they young uncomfortable there and have to come to the top of the nest.  Then the mother will beat her wings knocking the young ones off the nest.  It is time to fly or die.  But the eagle doesn't let her young fall to their death, if they don't fly she will sweep under the young and catch them to bring them back for another try.  The eagle doesn't let her young just rest in comfort because she knows these eagles must learn to fly and feed themselves.  They need to mature.  We prayed for people who are in uncomfortable places in life because God is wanting to mature them.

For three straight months we have averaged more than 500 at our prayer gatherings.  God is calling people to pray.  It is a great feeling to know that 500 people have gathered to change history by praying to their Great God.

Elements that worked tonight:
Sharing the analogy of how a young eagle learns to fly from Deut 32:11 and then praying for people who sensed they are in a season of God taking them out of their comfort zone and challenging them with hard things.

Memorable moments & phrases:
We didn't come to pray little prayers to a little God tonight, we have come to pray Big prayers to a Big God