Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
On Wednesday afternoon of this week, I attended the second meeting of my Next Level Innovations (NLI) clergy peer-learning group. Over the past couple of weeks, our group has been reading a couple of books by Mark Batterson about the importance of prayer. Then on Wednesday, Grace Han, Bill Moberly, and I went with a group of clergy from the NLI churches into DC to spend a couple of hours with Mark to hear about his church and his experience with prayer.
As a result I’m been thinking about my own prayers for St. Matthew’s Church and the community we serve. It seems way too obvious to simply say that we should pray for the church and it’s ministries, but I think that we are often tempted to forget that we will never accomplish God’s purposes for our lives if we don’t make ourselves available to God’s power through a life-long commitment to prayer. I believe that on our own, we can make a difference in the world. But I also believe that the outcomes we accomplish on our own pale in comparison to the outcomes God might accomplish in and through us if we would open ourselves to God in daily prayer.
Over the next few months, I will be inviting you to deepen your personal relationship with God through prayer. I will also be inviting you to participate in an intentional season of prayer for St. Matthew’s Church. For now, I simply want to share a few of my own prayer requests for the church and community and ask you to join me. I’m praying:
- That everyone who worships at St. Matthew’s on Sunday experiences God’s unconditional love and saving grace.
- That everyone who participates in one of our classes or small groups next week deepens their relationship with God.
- That our outreach and service in the next week results in our community looking more like God’s Kingdom than it did last week.
- That God will grow in every one of us a desire to share the Good News with people who are un-churched and de-churched in our community.
- That God will use St. Matthew’s Church to help the youth and children in our community become deeply committed followers of Jesus.
Because of our limited human imaginations, we cannot fully comprehend the power of God to transform lives and change the world. But I firmly believe that God is at work, so I’m not only praying, I’m also trying to pay attention to the many ways God is answering our prayers and is using St. Matthew’s Church to impact lives in the church, the community, and around the world. It’s amazing to see what God is doing in our midst.
This will be a busy weekend at St. Matthew’s. Our first Community Health Fair will be held on Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. There will be more than 30 vendors, fitness demonstrations, food, fire trucks, and a rock-climbing wall. Tell your friends and neighbors and plan to stop by. The event will happen rain or shine.
On Sunday morning, we’ll be honoring both World Communion Sunday and Children’s Sabbath. Our kids will help lead the services as we pray for peace in the world and receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion together. You won’t want to miss worship this week. The message is entitled, The Prayer of the Children. The Scripture readings will be Isaiah 11:6-9, Luke 9:46-48, and Luke 18:15-17. Please join us.
Then, at 4:00pm on Sunday afternoon, we’ll gather for our annual Blessing of the Animals. You are invited to bring your beloved pets for a special blessing. Our children have prepared homemade doggie treats for everyone who attends. It promises to be a chaotic good time.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.