Did you ever feel like you needed to pray or wanted to pray but you just didn't have the words? Maybe your thoughts felt jumbled up or you couldn't quite think clearly to know how to even begin. Right now - I guess it could be from the combination of the looming end-of-year-calendar-craziness along with readjusting to the school routine after a long spring break and who-knows-what-else - I am finding myself feeling a little like this.
Recently Annie F. Downs started a podcast series on prayer and I've been listening to a few of the episodes. In one conversation, someone was sharing a story about being in a hospital room and being asked to lead the group in the Lord's Prayer. It just so happened this person was a pastor, and he got a few lines in but suddenly forgot what came next. So he paused and humbly said, "A little help?" Thankfully there was a grandmother in the room who jumped in to keep the prayer going.
He shared this story to illustrate the point that sometimes we just need someone else to help us have the words to say - even to say words that were already written by someone else. Sometimes we just need each other to pray.
Part of the reason behind us having a prayer team for ACSD is because we want to be able to help each other in prayer. We recognize that in so many ways, prayer is meant to be a team effort.
I would guess most of us who pray have experienced that frustrating and at times disorienting phenomenon of not feeling able to pray on your own. It's almost like writer's block, but with praying... "pray-er's block"? I'm not sure that term quite works, but I'm talking about when you're trying to come up with what to pray and nothing comes. Or you're trying to find a prayer to pray and even with already-written words, you're struggling to remember them, or you're just not "feeling it".
Perhaps if nothing else, what this struggle reveals is that we're not meant to do this alone. We're meant to do it as a team, to help each other with it. Hence, in the case of our school district, the prayer team.
One of the obvious challenges we face with this team is that we are not meeting together physically or in real time. We're united in heart and mind but we're all praying at different times and in different places. So it's easy to wonder, how is this going to help? In order to experience the fullness of the blessing of praying as a team, don't we need a fully enacted regularly-meeting-together kind of team?
Then again, I think back to the story of that pastor who forgot the words, and how someone was there right at that time to help him out. This time it was a grandmother, but the next time he needed help, it would likely be someone else. Or maybe the next time he would be the one doing the helping.
I guess what I'm realizing is that the way we're to be doing this team thing in prayer is a little more messy than what we might like. In an ideal situation, you'd have your fully formed team of people and they would all be there at just the right time. You'd fill in each other's words and it would all be beautiful and wonderful.
But in reality, you might find yourself saying, Help! Here I am by myself in my home with this overwhelming challenge and I don't know how to pray. Or maybe it's more like, I just moved into this new neighborhood and I'm far away from the people I used to meet with to go on walks and pray together. Or your schedule changes. Or your church closes. Or any number of things that all show us that life just doesn't stay the same. Things keep changing.
But God doesn't.
If it's true that God is the constant and if it's true that He's constantly providing, then maybe my job is to trust that He will put the right person nearby to help out when I need help. And at any time He might also use me to help someone else.
So yes, let's not stop being intentional and yes, let's keep building teams of people to pray. Like it says in Hebrews 10:25, let's not give up meeting together. And also, at the same time, let's look for how God is weaving teams of people together in ways that go beyond our good plans or thoughtful intentions.
Maybe some teams are just for a moment. Others may continue for years. As we all keep running the race God has marked out for us, we may not know exactly who He will bring beside us to help us when we fall or when we struggle to find the words to pray. But we can trust that God is and will always be our faithful Provider, and we will never be alone.
Thanks to all who shared a thought or prayer for the ACSD community as we anticipate next week's Serve-a-Thon. May they encourage us as we keep praying together...
It is always good to remember that our God always answers prayer but it may not be the answer we wish, for He will only provide us with the best answer, because He is our Father.
~ Sandy Outlar, Prayer Team member
Father, we praise You for showing us serving one another is important to You. Thank you for showing us how to serve, through Jesus example. Please help our school community to be a blessing to all those we get to connect with before, day of Serve-a-Thon, and after. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
~ Mary Klase, ACSD Teacher
For our youth...to follow Jesus with all their hearts, souls and minds. To be leaders filled with strength and courage. Not to be afraid to stand up for their morals and values as Christians in a world that is ever increasingly pushing them from those Christian values. For them to know, without a doubt, that they can do ALL things through Christ who gives them strength.
~ Suzi Francis, WCA Parent
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory