August 3, 2020
Gmail is Peninsula Covenant Church's weekly pastoral publication.
I have been reflecting on God’s gifts of grace during COVID-19. By far, when it comes to PCC, God’s biggest gift of grace for me is to be able to participate in our noontime prayer Gatherings, via Zoom. Some 90 times many have gathered, under the leadership of Peter Perkins, Anthony Mejia, Brian Rhen, John Becker, Sherman and Marti Williams, and Russ and Chris Llewellyn to worship and pour out our hearts before the Lord, interceding for our church and our land.
Consolidating to power-packed Wednesdays!
Starting in this week, we will be shifting from meeting every weekday to every Wednesday for our noon prayer time. I am asking each of you to devote yourselves to this weekly, 1-hour prayer gathering. Click here for details and access information.
For the early church, prayer was not an afterthought, a convenience, or the Christian way to start and end a meeting. Prayer was not an addendum to the “real work” of the church.
As I have reflected on why this corporate prayer has been so impactful in my COVID life, I came up with four reasons. I offer them in hopes that it will motivate you to devote yourself to this weekly Wednesday prayer meeting.
Noontime prayer has encouraged me like no other PCC activity during COVID. Life is hard in a pandemic. As followers of Jesus, we can find ourselves at a loss for words, as we experience the multiple aspects of sin in our culture—trying to understand the times, in light of God’s goodness and sovereignty. When we gather with other believers to pray, we can “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
During corporate prayer (i.e., collectively and collaboratively praying), we have reminded our brothers and sisters that God will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39), and that we have a Savior who sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
Noontime prayer has schooled me on how to pray. As believers of varying ages, ethnicities, and life-stages previously gathered to pray, we have learned from one another. Just as Jesus taught the disciples to pray (Matthew 6:10), when believers listen to the prayers of the faithful, our faith grows. Corporate prayer moves us beyond simplistic requests for ease or health or blessing—though those are worthy requests too—and teaches us to ask instead that we might be shaped to the likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29).
Noontime prayer has created an intergenerational intimacy and unity. Jesus prayed, right before his arrest that we would be one (John 17:20-21). PCC is a church of generations with a longing for more intergenerational interaction. Intergenerational is not when we sit in the same pew as other generations; it is when we share a table in fellowship, serve side by side in mission efforts, and pray “knee to knee” alongside each other! Hearing the heart-cry of my sisters and brothers of other generations has been beautiful. As we regularly come together, we’re reminded to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
Noontime prayer has been an investment in evangelism. Humanly speaking, our noontime Zoom prayer meetings don’t look like much. A group of people spending an hour with their eyes closed, taking turns addressing an unseen God, is unlikely to draw the notice of the world. At best, it seems like a quaint ritual. At worst, outright foolishness. Most people place little value on an uncomfortable, time-consuming, spiritual practice that has no tangible or immediate results. But though they don’t know it, PCC at prayer is this city’s greatest hope! People walking in darkness have no better friend than a group of believers on a Zoom call for an hour, united in the work of pleading for the light of Christ to shine in their eternal souls.
John says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14). And Peter tells us, that the Lord does not wish “that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9). We can join him in his work of redemption as we pray for those who are lost.
PCC, join us this and every Wednesday for Noon Zoom Prayer. We see in Acts 2:42 above that the early church didn’t pray because it was convenient, they devoted themselves to it! Oh that God would stir that type of devotion again in our day!.
I love being your pastor!
Lead Pastor, Peninsula Covenant Church