On October 6, we’re planting ourselves in Columbus again to practice His Presence and pray into the next New. Above all, we want to enjoy Jesus! And while there is a lot of margin for surprises, there are a few things we’re looking forward to…
1. Practicing His Presence together
I’ve written about this already, but it cannot be overstated – we love being together in the Lord’s Presence! Psalm 26:8 says: Lord, I love your sanctuary, the place where you’re glorious Presence dwells. Because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross, we can not only come into that sanctuary – we are a part of that sanctuary! He is building our lives into His own masterpiece and bringing us together to Himself as our centerpiece (Ephesians 2). The more we adore Him, the more we explore Him! He is so amazing! We see and experience His glory, and it’s all with Him – in His Presence. In my own experience, I’ve learned that the Lord likes to visit, but He loves to dwell. When we come to-gather, we “camp” around His Presence, and He dwells with us there – at whatever place we set apart to Him.
2. Praying In the Spirit
Ha – this isn’t a checklist of advertisements. I’m just telling you what we’re looking forward to. Every year, we dedicate the first hour to pray in the Holy Spirit. No talking. No singing. No English, or anything else. We just start “rumbling.” On our very first year, we literally did NOT know what to pray, and we were committing to go 24-hours that time. So out of sheer humility, we just prayed in the Spirit… over an hour. And afterward, it seemed like things just took off from there. We learned a valuable principle first-hand that night: FOLLOW the Holy Spirit. It’s become something of a tradition for folks, but it’s just a reminder to all of us that the Lord wants to lead our time and lives. (Actually, I don’t think it has to be only one hour. We might pray less or even longer; the point is that He is directing us.)
We often use different phrases to describe what’s happening when we pray in the Spirit, such as drinking or downloading. Often, you may run across the phrase “Plow Now.” As we pray, we trust that the Holy Spirit is (and has been) going before us to prepare things in/around us. There is nothing quite like hearing a lot of believers praying in the Spirit together though. It can actually get quite loud, which is why we affectionately refer to it as “rumbling.” However, it’s not a volume thing, because thunder and lighting go together. The same is true with the rumblings of the Spirt and the gift of revelation. If this is new for you, or not your thing, that’s cool. Just come a little later.
3. Prayer Party
We didn’t realize how misunderstood we were until we started “partying.” I agree that we all need the Fear of the Lord, and that the phrase itself can come off irreverent or trite. However, I’m actually more afraid of being a party-pooper than anything else. Jesus’ Finished Work of the Cross is such a big deal, it would be wrong to not celebrate it! In fact, without a clear (and fresh) understanding of the Gospel, our praying gets static or stale or stagnant. Seeing Jesus infuses us with faith, and we are caught up into His Presence! The party isn’t down here anyways (per se); it’s up there! That’s where we need to be. No, we’re afraid of not going all out for this Good News! We sing, shout, dance, pray and preach up His victory! We make much of Jesus! We thank the Father for giving His Son, and honor the outpouring of His Spirit that’s now possible. When you try to describe it to a friend for the first time, it’s just easier to call it a party… with prayer.
This is kinda a new one for our praying culture. I’m not sure how many folks have heard this phrase before, but it’s actually a pretty obvious thing. We always want to practice making space for the Lord to speak to/through us. By pausing a few seconds here and there, we open ourselves for Him to show up – and He does! It’s not special or spooky. It’s just a choice to be sensitive. It’s your way of saying: I know you’re here! What are you up to?
A “Prayer Pause” is a one-on-one interaction where we simply pause to pray for one another, or others. We see this modeled in Scripture everywhere, especially the Gospels and Acts. Jesus is always reaching out to “the one.” You’ll even hear about the “person of peace.” Many times, big movements are started by small moments.
We’ll get into this practice later on, but think about this first. Everyone is waiting on the Lord to move, but what happens if no one moves out with Him? Let’s all be quick to pause and pray for someone else instead of waiting for someone to pray for us. (It’s actually more fun that way, too!)
We used to call them Prayer Pockets, and they still are. Saying Pockets is just cleaner though. Each week, we pull together somewhere with a handful of friends to pray about 30 minutes. The idea is simple: What do you do with your friends? You do things you enjoy, right? Well, we enjoy praying together! It’s what friends do.
Two comments about Pockets here… One, because Pockets are so relational, they actually grow organically. We don’t try to add too much scheduling or structure from the outside. Instead, the structure is embedded on the inside and grown over time with modeling. The DNA is expected to spread from one Pocket to the others, which challenges everyone learn and lead. Two, the place you “pray into” is just as important as the prayers themselves. Seeds don’t just hop around, and Pockets are commitments, too. You’ll actually see the most “fruit” come out consistency – with intensity!
We’re modeling Pockets this year, too. The prayers will amazing, but we’ll also believe for people to start (or keep) praying, too.
Side Note: No Pauses, No Pockets. Without one-on-one interactions, organic groups cannot form. When friends “ping” individually, they want to followup later on. Those initial moments create the connections that are developed over time through Pockets.
Again, you can call these Prayer Paths, but we’ll just keep it short for now – Paths. Over time, your Pocket will grow… and even multiply! In fact, that’s the point! The truth is we cannot grow unless we go. That’s why we emphasize “overlapping relationships.” Simply put, we mean we’re always learning and leading at the same time. For instance, you may be “learning” in someone else’s Pocket on Tuesdays while “leading” your own Pocket on Fridays. When you lead your own Pocket, we call you a Planter. We pray into Jesus’ Parables to grow Kingdom values and better understand the organic nature of the Gospel. What do you do when your Pocket has Pockets though? It’s time to start Paths!
Paths are longer, more like 60 minutes, and designed to feel like an on-going journey. It’s the time you invest in your team (of Planters). They’ve been praying with you already, and you’ll keep doing that, but now you’re adding some time to study God’s Word together. Paths normally start with a few pre-marked readings, but the best Paths always get off-track! It’s a series of conversations that grow your praying culture.
I’m excited about introducing our first series of Paths – looking at Jesus and His Church in Revelation 1-3. It’s not really an “End-Time” study, but it will have those talking points involved. It’s more about the character and characteristics of Christ, and what He is speaking to His Church (past, present, and Future).
Side Note: I’m eager to host Paths because I just don’t know how it will go yet. And that’s the fun part!
Okay, I’m out of time for now. I guess this is officially Part 1. Until next time, keep going and keep growing!