Monday, April 30, 2007


This Thursday, May 3rd is the National Day of Prayer. Join us in the Open Door Sanctuary for an evening prayer service. The sanctuary will open at 6 pm for personal prayer and reflection, and the service will begin at 7 pm. Come join us as we worship, and pray for America's government, families, education system, media, the church in America, and our military.

The photos above are from our weeks of prayer. We asked Cheryl to put together a prayer station focusing on praying for our nation. She came up with the unique approach of using the prayers of our Presidents as the focal point and encouragement for our prayers. Some of these prayers were printed up and posted on the board for all to read; shorter excerpts from the prayers of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and others, were printed on small slips of paper and put in a bowl for us to draw from and take. During the weeks of prayer, the bowl had to be refilled several times. It was powerful not only to read, but also to pray along with, these leaders of our nation. Click here to read some other prayers of our nation's Presidents.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Written Expression of Prayer

Sheri shares how her personal experience was the catalyst for one of the prayer stations (one photo shows the station itself, and the other shows a woman sitting right next to it, journaling). Sheri says:

"Many have asked about the origin of the stations.....I wanted to share the background for the station, "The Written Expression of Prayer".

I went through a long dark time when my life was pain, exhaustion, disappointment, bills to pay, health problems, and inadequacy for the needs of 2 high capacity kids. I don't remember when, but I discovered journaling. I found verses in Philipians 4 that talked about "in everything", "anxious thoughts", "petitions", "thanksgiving", "requests"....along with the promise..... "and the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus".

I began pouring those things into my journal. It was a physical release for emotions, petitions and praises. never failed that after I was poured out, the next sentence was something of the Lord that I could never have imagined for myself. It became my tool for clearing distraction, pouring out my heart, and becoming available to hear God's voice.

I prayed that just one person would discover that "release and revelation" through the journaling station the Lord encouraged me to create. I have been soooo blessed to hear of many more than one.....children, teenagers, men, and women. Sharing it has made me realize what a deep blessing it has been in my life.

And now, I can one day leave those 2 kids of mine a mountain of written prayers... and of God's faithful answers."

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Here's Angie's story on how one of the prayer stations, "The Offering," was created. To learn a little bit more about Angie's creative process and prayer journey, see the previous post.

A few weeks before our 24/7 week of prayer, I had the privilege to be invited out to my friend Michelle’s house. She is a gourd artist and I’ve wanted to learn some basic skills for carving and how to use the various tools so she volunteered to teach me and let me play! The day before, however, I had no clue what I was going to make. As often happens to me when God wants to talk to me about art, He woke me in the middle of the night. I told him of my excitement but that I had no idea what I was going to make and asked Him what He would have me do. God gave me an immediate clear picture of a carved gourd with reaching hands. The inside was to be collaged with various reds and golds representing fire. God instructed me to have His names written on the side in Hebrew, and to title the piece “The Offering”.

I went to Michelle’s the following morning and was able to get the entire gourd carved but brought it home to finish cleaning it out and creating the remaining artwork on it. When it got to the Hebrew writing, I began getting very nervous since I’ve never even tried to write Hebrew! I began a mild argument with God trying to persuade him to let me do something different on the gourd but He does not change his mind. And He always provides help! My best friend Fran, is Jewish and her mother-in-law is a Hebrew teacher so I was pointed to some internet links for Hebrew names of God and Fran gave me a few pointers in the writing.

By the time the piece was finished, it was clear that it should be part of the 24/7 week of prayer. It gave the body an opportunity to give their own “offerings” to God by writing them on strips of red paper and putting them in the center of the gourd. This represented the fire for burnt offerings as they were offered to God.

Blessed be the name of the Lord, the One True God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

It was awesome to see, day by day, the gourd fill to overflowing with people's "offerings," the red slips of paper. The creative process, the result, and what it inspired in others, truly were all offerings to the Lord.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Could this be prayer?

One of the things we want to do on this blog is share some of our stories of how God sometimes invites us to hear His heart in a way that we may not identify as prayer, but is prayer, just the same. Angie is one of the artists who is part of our Thursday night group, and our 24/7 team. A few years ago, she lived on my street, and we would have conversations about prayer and our relationships with God. "I don't have much of a prayer life," she would tell me. Ten minutes later she would be sharing a story about God waking her up in the middle of the night to give her ideas for her next piece of artwork, down to the details of color, and subject matter, and who she was to present it to when she was done. It was a dialogue that would take place over time, sometimes weeks or even months, as she would inquire of Him and He would continue to speak to her heart about what she was creating. It took her a while to realize . . . hey, maybe, just maybe, THIS is prayer. Since then she has grown to purposefully seek God and to partner with Him in many more creative endeavors.
In the next post she will share how God led her to create one of the art pieces that was used as one of the prayer stations during our weeks of prayer.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Center on Christ / Love One Another / Pray Big Prayers

Center on Christ

Love One Another

Pray Big Prayers

I am thinking that these three statements could make a wonderful mission statement/outline/progression/philosophy/modus operandi for our Thursday night prayer group. We are a group of ragamuffins (ala Brennan Manning's RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL) who have met together weekly since last June, praying, dreaming, planning and creating for the weeks of prayer in February and March. We have grown from mutually interested attendees to a community of heart-connected friends with shared hopes and dreams.
I'm not trying to come up with a vision of purpose statement, or define us, but I thought of those three statements (above) as I sat here at the computer and reflected on our meeting this past week, and I think that pretty much says it all, and is the essence of our most precious and powerful times together.
Like Thursday night. We focused on scripture about Christ, and then responded to what we read through worship prayers. Then we shifted gears into petition/intercession, asking God to make Jesus, and prayer -- our vehicle of connection with Him -- more truly central in our lives and in our church. I talked about corporate prayer being more effective when we all are attentive to the conductor (Holy Spirit); are sensitive to the unique contribution each of us "orchestra members" had to make; and following the same "melody," played in harmony with one another, rather than simply playing - praying - a series of solos.
We also welcomed a friend of Jan's, Juanita, who was there for the first time, affirmed and prayed for Lyle and Margee, who are leaving next week and will be gone until December, and then sang "Happy Birthday" to dear Deb.

It was a simple time but rich and sweet.

Center on Christ.
Love One Another.
Pray Big Prayers.

I like that.