Sabbatical year

Fervent Prayer

One of the things we have appreciated most about the ministry here is that it’s centered in prayer. A lot of Christian missions and ministries say that prayer is one of their top priorities, but I’ve never seen that value lived out the way that we’ve seen it here.

We reserve a big chunk of each Friday for prayer. The preparing Algete church has House of Prayer at Paul & Sylvia’s every Friday from 12-2 pm and again from 7-9 pm (to allow people to come when it’s more convenient). In between, several OMS missionaries who work in Spain gather for OMS prayer meeting from 2:30-4:30.

That’s six hours each Friday that are devoted to prayer. In reality, we spend about half the time in discussion about things people would like prayer for. But that still means we’re spending a full three hours in prayer. To my shame, that’s more cumulative time spent in prayer each Friday than I’ve spent with some ministry teams over a year’s time.

A lot of this has been inspired by a ministry in Wales that Paul & Sylvia came across a few years ago. I recommend the book about that ministry: The Grace Outpouring.

I suppose you can never know what would have happened anyway and what happened as a direct result of prayer. I can say, though, that this group has prayed for some specific and unlikely things and then seen them happen. Most of those are personal for someone or confidential, so I can’t share them. In an earlier post, Emily shared about how we had prayed both for space and for a way to connect with some teenagers and young adults in the community, and then the next week the city asked if we could teach English classes to youth and young adults in exchange for free space usage.

Do we really believe in the power of prayer? We all say that we do, but I think we rarely live that way. My tendency has been to say a quick prayer, then get about the real work of making decisions and getting things done. Our focus on prayer here isn’t to the exclusion of doing things, but it’s taking a much bigger role than it has in anything I’ve done before, and that has been a great blessing.

Based on our increased focus on prayer here, I wrote a piece over on my personal blog inviting people to pray for one person (or two) in a specific way this week. Click on that if you’re interested. I’d love for you to join me.

And finally, since I’m sharing about prayer, we would appreciate your prayers especially for these things:

  • The first gathering for the Algete church is this Saturday night! This will be a gathering of those who have already shown interest. A meal and some time in worship and prayer at Paul & Sylvia’s house. Please pray for a good fellowship and a good start for what’s to come.
  • We haven’t gotten the exact location or dates for the space that the city will be letting us use. That has made it harder to make decisions about future worship meetings. We’re praying to get some specifics soon and not to allow space details to prevent us from moving forward.
  • Emily and I begin teaching English classes in two weeks. Pray that we get good enrollment for those classes and that we can lead them well. (We’re using some of the free time until then to do extra language work. We could continue to use prayer for language learning!)
  • Finally, the kids have done really well in their first month of school. Abigail has started to have some real separation anxiety from Ella when we drop them off each morning. We’re told she does fine throughout most of the day, but it’s still hard to see her in tears in the morning. We’d appreciate some extra prayers for her.

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