“…For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” –Isaiah 56.7
Today we begin Holy Week, the most sacred and meaningful week of the Christian year. Holy Week brings the season of Lent to a close, the season in which we are called to deeper personal and corporate prayer and reflection. There several opportunities for you this week to enter into the depths of the gospel drama that leads to Jesus’ crucifixion. I encourage you to take advantage of the Holy Week prayer opportunities so you can prepare spiritually to receive the grace and hope of the Resurrection next week on Easter. I also want to explain how we spiritually prepare ourselves as staff and prepare the Sanctuary, Wesley Covenant Chapel and the Student Center to receive the thousands of guests we are expecting next weekend by praying over every seat.
Praying over worship service seats is a long standing tradition at Church of the Resurrection. While every worship service at Resurrection begins with the whole worship team circling up in prayer, there are significant services or events for which all of the Resurrection staff is expected to pray. Typically these are Leadership Institute, Candlelight Christmas Eve, and Easter where many, many people visit the church for the first time. First time guests and the rest of us come for a variety of reasons. Some are skeptical, wondering what this big church is all about. Some want to feel God’s presence anew or perhaps for the very first time. Some are seeking to connect with people as a way to learn how to live out their faith in real life. Some are lonely, or grieving or in need of healing of body or spirit. Some come to respond in gratitude for the blessings in their lives. Some come out of habit. Our job as staff is to prepare God’s house by bathing it in prayer so that each individual who walks through the door feels welcome, accepted and touched by the grace of God.
Generally we pray over the seats after staff chapel on Thursday mornings where all of the staff gathers for worship each week. This is a good time to pray over the seats because in staff chapel our hearts and minds are refocused on God’s goodness in the midst of our busy work week and we are more spiritually present and prepared to intercede for others. We then go to the Sanctuary, Wesley Covenant Chapel or the Student Center. We lay our hands upon each seat and pray that the Holy Spirit would come to rest upon the seat and touch each person who occupies it with God’s grace. God knows what every individual needs and desires. Additionally, we pray for the worship service in general, Pastor Adam’s message, and that all of us might become invisible over the course of the weekend allowing Christ’s presence to shine through all.
So remember, as you spiritually prepare for Easter Sunday by taking part in the Holy Week opportunities, you are deeply loved by your church staff, and that Church of the Resurrection is indeed a house of prayer for all peoples.
Nancy Pauls, Pastor of Prayer