Dear GCI Family and Friends,
As I write this update, I am travelling to Fargo, North Dakota (Susan’s home state). From there, Superintendent Mike Rasmussen and I will head north and join the National Director of Canada, Bill Hall, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for a three-day conference with pastors and ministry leaders with the theme, “Welcome Home.” We anticipate a wonderful time of regathering after the Covid pandemic and a time of learning and inspiration. (I’ll write about this in our next issue.)
When I prepare to make such trips, I solicit prayer support from the extended Home Office family. Safe and uninterrupted travel is part of the request (especially with all the travel-related horror stories circulating in the news). In a book on Christian leadership I recently read, the author challenged us to think about better prayers, rather than just more or longer prayers. I surmised this to mean more thoughtful and more specific prayers. It caused me think about the words of James when he said, “You have not because you ask not.”
I have come to take a fresh look at prayer. Beyond my personal safety and comfort, plus a general covering of blessing on the meetings, what if I prayed about conferences and celebrations with more intent? Would you join me?
Lord, be with the presenters in their time of preparation. Give them the thoughts and words that the attendees need to hear. Bless them with creativity and passion so that the presentations of the gospel are exciting and move the listeners to action. Jesus, be in the hearts and minds of all who gather that there is a palpable sense of receptivity. Jesus, meet us in the informal gatherings – the shared meals, chats in the hallway, late night discussions, and even the difficult conversations that need to take place. Bring us together in a spirit of unity and harmony. May we deeply appreciate the opportunity simply to come together after this long season of being unable to gather. We join the Psalmist in saying, “How good and pleasant for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Most importantly, we come together to raise up your name, Jesus, and proclaim you as Lord of our lives and Lord of your church. Jesus, we worship you and declare that we are here to seek your will and humbly ask that you empower us to be the church you would have us be. In your strong name, we anticipate your positive response to our requests. Amen!
May we also be in prayer for our weekly services and our neighborhood engagement. God is present in and cares about our Hope and Love Avenues. We’re soaking up Jesus’ presence when we pray, and his presence transforms us.
After the Canadian conference, Susan will join me, and we will jet off to Australia and Fiji. In late September, I am in the Philippines for a week, and I will then end my 2022 travel outside the U.S. in October with a trip to France. All of these are important gatherings that deserve to be covered in prayer. And just as we pray about the preparation and execution of these gatherings of God’s people, let’s remember to pray about the longer-term lasting impact that they have as pastors, leaders, and members return to the local expression of the church. Lord, continue to guide, bless, and empower our journey toward Healthier Church!
Going Forward on Our Knees,