“How can we pray for you?” This gracious question has echoed through our emails, texts, messages, and calls the past two weeks. With the Harvey sprint downshifting into the post-Harvey slog, here are some ways you might pray us forward in coming weeks and months.
Like Solomon, we need wisdom. The task was heavy before, but convoluted now. Every task is pressing, and every need immediate. False guilt lurks behind every delayed priority, every unanswerable request, every unmet need. Unanticipated challenges arise each day, demanding decisions both quick and thoughtful. The temptation is to rush and not pray, to work and not rest, to decide and not consider. So we need wisdom—and not just the kind of wisdom that makes good decisions. We need “wisdom from above” that’s “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
Along with wisdom, we need strength, because “the best of men are men at best.” Our congregation now carries many unfamiliar burdens. Muscles not often used—both physical and spiritual—are being tested. Many beloved saints are serving heartily through hot days, long hours, crisis conditions, disfigured schedules, and emotional turmoil. The most aggressive go-getters in our congregation were exhausted after 5-6 days. God’s people are God’s, but they’re still people. We’re being reminded, and reminding each other, that just as we can’t trust in chariots and horses, we can’t trust in long hours or adrenaline blasts. Instead, we must trust—even as we toil—in the name of the Lord our God. Please pray for us in that powerful name.
God has graciously used this trial to bring us together. We’re sweating together, watching each others’ kids, making meals for each other, cleaning moldy belongings out of each others’ homes, living together in literal ways. Threads previously running parallel are being beautifully intertwined. But we know knots can form, too, and even within freshly sown fabric, fresh tears are a danger. People are weary. Life is strained. Hard decisions must be made quickly, sometimes among groups who don’t yet know each other well. With unique opportunities come unique temptations. We want to serve together and grow together, but we also want to stay together. This will require grace.
Jesus had commissioned his disciples to take his gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). He had ascended to heaven before their very eyes after reminding them that they would be his witnesses to the very ends of the earth (Acts 1:8-9). They had received the outpoured Spirit at Pentecost, and the multiplication marking God’s inbreaking kingdom had begun (Acts 2). But still they remained in Jerusalem—until persecution struck. Stephen was martyred, Saul did his pre-Paul thing, and the church was scattered. Then, Luke says, they went about preaching the Word (Acts 8:4). Our building is no Jerusalem, and flooding is no persecution. But we are not naïve. We see the pattern and the providence, and we want to be mobilized even as we mourn. Please pray that nothing—especially ourselves—would stand in the way of a multiplying gospel witness.