Looking Up – Prayer IS the Battle

Dear Hope Church Family,

Sometime in the summer of 2022, Julie Bell made an announcement during the worship service about the Monday night prayer meeting she was a part of. It had been established for some years, open to all to come. She spoke of it enthusiastically and ended by giving a warm invitation to us to consider joining that prayer time.

I immediately thought, “I can do that, I’d like to do that.” Since that time, I’ve shown up, with the others, and brought the joys and praises, and the sadnesses and desires of yours to our Father’s throne of grace. Over the months, I began to realize another joy happening: fully becoming a part of a small group of prayer warriors, my personal “Band of Sisters and Brothers.” This Band of 8 is focused on prayer for the body of Christ at Hope, while also including the zoomed-in focus on praying for each other in the room. That so blesses me.

I’m reading a devotional book, Champagne for the Soul by Mike Mason, the focus being on rediscovering God’s gift of Joy. A recent post I read states “Joy and prayer belong together.” Mason quotes Isaiah 56:7 “…these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer…” (The reference is to foreigners who join themselves to and love the Lord) Mason wonders if people avoid prayer because they find no joy in it, perhaps they have ritualized the life out of prayer or squeezed it into cramped spaces… for me, I struggled with doubt about things like how long, how often, the answers, disconnection. Eventually, my Abba Father showed me it’s a relationship, not a thing. Little by little, my spirit felt more connected in times of prayer, sometimes even more so while praying in community, like Monday evenings. Paul Miller says in his book, A Praying Church, “We are never more ourselves than when we are praying.”

If you are newer to Hope, perhaps you are unaware of the Monday evening Prayer Meeting. Although there is a prayer team that gathers every Monday at 7:00pm, let’s make the distinction that it is a Prayer Meeting that is always open to everyone to come and pray and to be prayed for. I referred to us as a Band of 8, but we aspire to be a Cohort of many Pray-ers.