This summer our church is doing a Wednesday night prayer meeting in our new building. Pastor Chad is doing an 8 week (I think) sermon series on prayer so the prayer meetings give us a chance to put into practice the things we're learning and also spend some time in our new building before we move into it, praying for the building and the people who will worship there. Daniel and I went to the second prayer meeting last night and I have to say, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I've never been to a prayer meeting before and even when I had opportunity to go, I'd avoid it because it just sounded like it would be very uncomfortable. I don't like to pray out loud (I think that's true of most people) but I figured I should get out of my comfort zone and attend. And I'm glad I did.
There were about 25 adults and half a dozen or so kids that showed up. We started out by singing a song together and then one of our deacons, Dave, gave us some instructions. He told us to break into groups of four or five and spread out throughout the sanctuary and balcony. He would tell us specifically what to pray about for a few minutes, then we would move around and find another group and pray about something else. Dave had us pray the five parts of a prayer: adoration, thanksgiving, supplication, intercession, and confession. He also included a few minutes for people to give some examples of things they were thankful for.
It was amazing. And the thing that surprised me the most was that I wasn't nervous about praying out loud because... it wasn't about me. It was about the body of Christ gathering together to seek the face of God. And I think that brings up an important point. Our faith isn't only a personal faith; it's also a corporate faith. Jesus knew that we would experience things when we gathered with other believers that we'd never be able to experience on our own and that's why He commanded us to gather with others. We'd be able to see that we aren't alone. We'd be able to use our gifts to help others. We'd be held accountable and loved and showed grace. And most of all, we'd get a glimpse of what it looks like in heaven. Believers gathered together, worshiping the Lamb. Last night I got a glimpse of it. I get a glimpse of it every Sunday. And that glimpse reminds me of why I'm here. It's not about me. It's about Him.
"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." Revelation 7:9-10