Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Will we Tarry?" A call to community prayer

'Tarry.' Strange word. Forgotten word. The word Jesus used to describe what his disciples should have done with him in the Garden of Gethsemane and didn't.
Essentially, it means to pray watchfully. "Could you not tarry with me for one hour?" was Jesus' rhetorical question to them.

Like most of us, the disciples' spirits were willing but their flesh was weak. In their case it was because they were sleepy. More accurately, they were 'exhausted from sorrow.'Ironic, but so true, that when we are exhausted, discouraged or depressed, the very thing that cures our condition seems so hard to do.

Prayerlessness seems to me to be one of the epidemics of our culture and time. 'I'm too busy to pray!' is the excuse so many give. John Wesley's response to that excuse was, "I'm too busy not to pray."I have found that prayer brings space to my day, and when I neglect it, things seem more frenetic.

I remember another John; John Wimber, speaking about prayerlessness to his congregation not long before he died. They had become a large, high profile church and he felt they had become passive in prayer. "We are charging on someone else's credit card!" he warned. "We are living in the fruit of the prayers of those that have gone before us instead of investing in prayer for the next generation." An extremely sobering statement.

Of course prayer is inconvenient. But being a Christ -follower, means that the full and inconvenient gift of the Cross, calls for a full response from us. And in the inconvenience of it all, we discover the rare privilege of partnering with the Lord of All, fueling the shaping of history one prayer at a time.

My prayer for the community I lead, is that we would rediscover the power of 'Tarrying Together.' 2nd Friday prayer is the one hour every month that we express that most powerfully."No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived what God has prepared for those who wait for Him" Is 64. Let's see you there Southlands.

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