Sowing and Growing, Reaping and Weeping

Every Thursday morning in the office at EBC, the church’s staff team gets together for an hour or so to pray.

Very often we start with a short reading (you can read this morning’s reading by clicking here) and then we go around the room asking what we can be praying about for each other. Although it takes a bit of time, I’ve come to value it as one of the most important things we do together all week, as we catch up with each other, give thanks for each other and what God has done for us and put our requests and petitions to God together.

This morning I led the meeting and came to it with the sad news that our great friend and partner in Sierra Leone, Abs Dumbuya, has lost one of his younger brothers following a serious stomach operation.

My feelings about Abs run deep, as I know is true for many of us at EBC. He is an amazing and inspiring man, whom we love very much. If ever I find myself self-pitying, I remind myself of Abs – which usually helps! I’m not above citing Abs when other people are moaning too. This week one of my boys was a bit grumpy after being played out of position at football. After listening for a bit to this teenage angst being inflicted on the rest of the family, I said with a smile “Samson – two words… Abs Dumbuya.” To his credit, Sam immediately smiled and stopped moaning! Thank you Abs – we love you and are praying for you.

This prayer meeting we have always reminds me how much struggle there is in life and yet also how much there is to be thankful for. Also, how very helpful it is to be able to share these things with others and pray together – that is in itself a great blessing to be thankful for!

Today we shared sadness about Abs’ brother, hope about family members, thankfulness for God’s provision and requests for healing and other interventions. As we were going round the circle, Kevin, one of our General Assistants, told us it was his “second anniversary” and if you know Kevin’s story, you’ll understand how that made us sit up and give thanks to God with renewed energy! I mention this with Kevin’s permission, of course. I confess I find it borderline ridiculous that I would end up leading a church, but I have to hand it to Kevin – he’s got me trumped on the whole “amazed that I’m here” stories and you can find out why on our guest blog! To read this, click here.

If you are not currently praying regularly, I implore you to do so. Alone, behind closed doors, and together in groups large or small, pray together. Unleash the power of prayer – which is, as my good friend Rob Lea often says, the most powerful force in the universe.

Here are some things you might (please) consider praying about –

Comfort for Abs and his family

Thanks for Kevin and his incredible journey

Thanks for our staff team and all our wonderful volunteers

Thanks for those who give so generously of their finances to make our ministries possible!

Wisdom for our Premix, Remix, Unity and Messy Church teams as they go about planning, putting together and running sessions for our children, young people and young families. Thanksgiving for those same people and blessings for them and those they are teaching!

Thanks for three amazing events this summer – New Wine, Holiday at Home and Soul Survivor – which have been a great blessing to people of all ages.Thanks for and to the teams of people that ran them!

Prayers for the new season at EBC, including our current series, “You Reap What You Sow”, and a series on “The Power of Prayer” itself! Along the way we have our Gift Day, with projects in Sierra Leone and here at EBC to finance, before we go into full-on Christmas celebration mode!

As we continue our series about sowing and reaping, let’s remember that prayer is an incredibly powerful agent for spiritual growth. It’s like watering the ground once the seeds have been planted. God gives us the good seeds but he expects us to use them. He gives us the rain, but he expects us to use it via the watering can too.

So again I encourage you, in all your good plans and hopes and dreams and actions… water the seeds with prayer – alone and together, on a regular basis – and watch and see what happens.

Simon Lace, 07/09/2017