Our church is in the middle of fifty days of prayer. We have a prayer room that is open 24 hours a day, six days a week. Staff and elders are "prayer captains" and we endeavour to fill all of the slots 24/6.
It's a very precious place to go to. There's a bowl representing the prayers of the saints rising to heaven. There's a community wall for scriptures, pictures, prayer requests, cries to heaven. There's a wall for praise and thanksgiving. There's a wall with a world map to focus our prayers outwards across the nations.
There's beanbags, cushions, chairs. There's creative material. There's hankies.
There's (amongst others) my three favourite Rivera CDs.
I just love being there. I am trying to fit more time in there in December.
We have gone together as a family sometimes; something I have encouraged others to do and quite a number of families have been there, which I am thrilled about. I so want these children not just to feel part but to be right at the centre of what God is doing and saying to his church. When I look on the walls in the room I can see the children's words and prophetic pictures and it feels like movement forward is being made.
I am spending many hours in these weeks crying to God about the church, his church, the church I go to. It seems "ineffective" in the world's eyes to be still and not be "do-ing", doesn't it? Just five or six years ago I would only feel useful if I packed as much as possible into one day. Now I don't care. I don't mean I don't care in that I'm going to say it in a moochy voice, I mean I don't care because I am trying to be my Father's child.
Sometimes I spend some daytime hours not "doing" very much, just resting with Him, thinking about the people I am going to see that week and showing him my diary. I love that sense of him being so close, where each breath in is breathing him in. I can tell the weeks I haven't given him my week's plans.
I can honestly say at this moment in time that I would give all my hopes and dreams up just to be closer to Jesus. We had a meeting in our main worship space this week and we were permissioned to spread out over the whole building and pray and be on our own. In the coldest, draughtiest corner I met Jesus as I lay on the floor (bundled in a duffle coat with the hood up it has to be said) and he showed me things. I didn't want to leave his presence. I was freezing but he was warmer! He took me for a walk along some pews and showed me some hearts and talked to me about his hopes for the church. And I cried and cried at what he saw and what he said he wanted to see as he told me that the solution is right there in that room - surrendered hearts, abilities, good though they may be, abandoned for the best, talents sacrificed to him, all for the sake of the cross.