Prayers for Leadership Institute 2008

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This coming week, Church of the Resurrection will host the annual Leadership Institute at Resurrection.  This year, almost 1600 people from all over the country and beyond will come to our church to be inspired, encouraged, instructed, and filled with renewed enthusiasm and vision for the ministry of their own churches.  We have asked the congregation to be praying for all those who attend Leadership Institute this year, and we ask that you pray, too.  If you are in worship this weekend, pick up a bookmark at the Connection Point with the name of one of our Institute guests.  You can pray for this person during the week.  We hope you also pray for our staff and pastors, who will be presenting workshops on every aspect of ministry.

Please pray for:

  • Safe travel
  • Health and comfort while they are here
  • What they learn here help them grow, change lives, transform communities and bring renewal to the Church
  • They experience personal growth, renewed energy and enthusiasm for their ministry

Here is the prayer that is printed on the bookmark.  It is our prayer for each of the churches represented by our guests, and our prayer for the Church of the Resurrection, too:

O God,
We long to be the beacon that
shines your light.  Help us learn
and grow so we may change lives,
transform our communities, and
renew the church.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Amen.

Intercessory Prayer by Pastor Laurie Barnes

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Mark 2:1-12 tells the story of the four friends who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing.  The biblical text doesn’t tell us the root cause of the paralysis – whether it was physical or emotional or spiritual.  Instead, the story stresses the faith of the four friends who had the love and took the time to carry their friend to Jesus.  Not only did they carry him across town to the place where Jesus was staying, they went up on the roof and dug through the roofing materials so that they could lower their friend down through the roof directly to the attention of Jesus. 

Recently at our Prayer Leadership Team retreat, we did an exercise from the Companions in Christ materials that involved a form of guided imagery.  As the leader read through the story, we paused often to silently visualize someone who we would like to carry to Jesus for healing.  As directed, we silently visualized who that person was and what  the obstacles were that we had to go through to get him/her to Jesus.  It was a very powerful exercise of intercessory prayer. 

Intercessory prayer is a gift of love that demonstrates that a person cares enough about his friend or family worker to carry them to Jesus.  Scripture tells us that Jesus is now our intercessor in heaven (Romans 8:34).  A caution about intercessory prayer is that it can be a considered a club by those who are at a different place in their faith journey.  At an earlier time in my life, I remember being offended when someone told me they were praying for me.  I saw their care as condemnation.  Now, I thank people profusely for praying for me and say “bring it on!”  I am finally at the point of realizing the great gift of love that intercessory prayer can be.

Who is on your stretcher today??

Laurie Barnes
Pastor of Prayer Ministry and Congregational Care

A Treasure, and a Reminder to Pray

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Jennifer writes…

While going through a box of very old family pictures recently, I came upon a treasure. It is a small black cloth bag, obviously hand sewn, and embroidered with a date of 1878, the outline of a Star of David, and some Hebrew lettering. Inside was a tiny metal mezuzah. 

 
A mezuzah is a small scroll, usually in a case, that observant Jews affix to the doorways of their home to fulfill the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:9 regarding God’s words: “write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  The scroll is inscribed with the words of the Hebrew prayer, Shema, which says, “Hear O Israel, the Lord Our God is One,” and “Shaddai,” one of the names of God. When entering the house, or the room, one touches the mezuzah and kisses the finger that touches it, remembering the prayer that is held inside.

 
Some of my mother’s family members were Russian Jews who traveled from the small villages near Vilna and settled in the southern United States. I assume this small bag belonged to one of them. Maybe it even made the trip in steerage to reach their new home and freedom to worship.

 
 I treasure this little bag as a piece of family history, but also as a wonderful reminder of the importance to pray, as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “without ceasing.” What sort of reminders can we give ourselves to pray?  Some people schedule prayer time into their calendars.  I know people who put prayer reminders into their computer systems so they pop up periodically throughout the day. Others carry small crosses, or even small “touchstones” in their pockets or purses where they are sure to touch them and remember to pray. Are there objects, like the mezuzah, that you put in your path to help you remember to pray?


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