Saturday, March 4, 2017

Pray First

It's been said that it takes a village and in our Christian walk I would go as far as to say it takes a congregation.
I've been a part of a lot of different churches over the years. Each church and each place marked a different season in my life. I didn't know it then, but a handful of sanctuaries, pot luck dinners, preachers, blue and white buses, Sunday School teachers, youth groups, VBS, Family Life Centers and the presence of God were defining me. I grew up the first 10 years of my life as the youth ministers daughter and have spent the last 15 trusting God's divine plans and finding my own way apart from the label of PK.
While a building does not define a person or limit a body of Christ to what they can do; it does home a multitude of hungry, broken, sick, joyous, redeemed and forgiven folks. I can only imagine if the walls of churches could talk. I know years of sermons and God respecting people and a foundation in Christ have built me into the person I am today. Churches sometimes get a bad rap, but I want to honor the ones who do it right. I want to thank all the many fellowships who have been a part of my life over the last 25 years. I was raised in church from the time I was born, but I stayed in church because of the great love of a Savior who changed everything on Calvary. It's been said that it takes a village and in our Christian walk I would go as far as to say it takes a congregation.
Spending a lifetime of Sundays on a church pew helped me exercise my faith when the rubber hit the road. Until you experience something that requires faith or failure on your own, you never really understand God relationally. It's in these moments that your faith is tested and growth occurs and you carry your beliefs not only at the altar but between Sundays. For all the moments I've faced in my life, especially the more recent adult ones, I am forever grateful my parents raised me in church, were authentic examples themselves and that I have a real relationship with Jesus. Never underestimate the need for other believers in your life or the need of Christ in your day to day.
The church I attend now does many amazing things, but one in particular is called, "21 Days of Prayer." For 21 days we meet at 6:00 in the morning and make our rally cry of "pray first" a priority and a reality. It's 21 days set aside of seeking God and giving everything to Him. It's 3 weeks of sleeping a little less and connecting with the Father a little more. It's 21 days of surrender and life change and a touch from Jesus.
And from personal experience I can testify it is time well spent. I love to sleep in, but I love what spending time in the presence of God does to me more. I prayed over this blog for 21 days before it's launch and God has faithfully given me a topic to write about every week. Praying doesn't guarantee you get what you want, but it draws your heart closer to the One who knows you better than you know yourself. It allows you to focus on others and separate yourself from the demands of the world. It creates time with your Savior that He treasures beyond words.
This 21 Days, August 3 through August 23, I challenge you to pray with me. If you are in a Highlands area go to one of the awesome campuses or watch online at from anywhere. You can create your own routine and set aside time each day. It doesn't really matter as long as you are connecting with God. That breakthrough you are waiting on just may be found on your knees. And please everybody I know....comment to this post, text me, email me, communicate with me in some way and tell me how I can personally pray for you during these 21 days. Even if I don't know you, it would be an honor to lift you up. Do this one. It will change you!
-Only Hope-Pray First

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