Monday night I addressed the REST2016 leadership team. We gathered for what we believe was the “most important meeting” of the year. Stakes were high in Kingdom work as each of us committed to adopting various churches, which we would be contacting and offering a promotional packet for the upcoming Rest for the Soul Ladies’ Retreat to be held October 21-22 at Paris Landing State Park. Our team enjoyed a time of fellowship around the table, and then we discussed the many tasks of ministry that lie before us. We concluded the evening by looking together into God’s Word.
God directed us to a prayer of Paul as recorded in Ephesians 3. With no hesitation, our entire team heartily agreed that the sole, most important aspect of preparing for REST2016 was our commitment to prayer. We pledged to pray, individually and collectively, for one another and October’s retreat.
During our devotional time, we studied Ephesian 3:14-21. In this passage, Paul offers to the Lord four key prayer requests for a beloved church. Our family of sisters pondered each of these specific petitions, and we vowed to pray Paul’s prayer as the retreat approached.
With this post, I would like to enlist you for prayer support, as well. I have a dear friend in ministry that often quotes John Bunyan: “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” Dear friend, will you pledge to join our team of leadership in praying for REST2016? We are convinced prayer is the key to any and all form(s) of ministry.
Here are the requests of Ephesians 3, and I ask you to begin now praying each of these in relation to the retreat:
1.) Vs. 15 – that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. Please join us in asking God for strength. May God – through this upcoming retreat – offer women and gals a time of inner, spiritual fortification. Many of us battle apathy and discouragement, and we are in need of God’s Spirit to renew and strengthen us, according to the riches of His glory.
2.) Vs. 17 – so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I love the contemporary phrasing that is associated with this request. The plea can be rendered as, “Oh Father, may Jesus be more and more at home within our hearts.” Think about that. Don’t you love the feeling of being at home? It’s a feeling of freedom, being welcomed, being affirmed and loved – not insulted or stifled. Let us pray that REST2016 will be a time of spiritual reflection in which we evaluate our lives and seek for our hearts to be Christ’s home … a place of residence in which Jesus is free and welcomed, not insulted or denied.
3.) Vs. 17b-19a – and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. My friend, let us pray one for another that we will determine to live each day with an awareness of the immeasurable love that God has for us. The greatest truth in all of God’s Word is God loves us! You see, when we live within the reality of God’s love for us, then we will be established, unwavering, rooted and ground, like a deep-rooted tree and a firmly-grounded building. Please ask God to stir our hearts at REST2016 and birth within us a daily, deliberate, mindful acknowledgement of how supremely He loves us.
4.) Vs. 19b – that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. I ask that you petition God with this final request. Please ask God to transform our lives at this upcoming retreat by making us His vessels that are completely filled with Him – and Him alone. For over a decade, my life was filled and overflowing with one desire, and that was to have a baby. Careers, hobbies, sicknesses, ministry, (and the list goes on) all have the potential to invade every fiber of who we are and leave us unfulfilled. God’s plan is for us to be filled and completely satisfied with Him. May God help us surrender to being consumed with Him alone.
Our team of ladies is praying faithfully for REST2016. Can we count on you to join us in praying? If you will, please keep before you Paul’s prayer, and throughout the days ahead, please ask God to strengthen us; make our hearts His home; remind us of His love; and help us to surrender to His filling and overflowing of our lives.
“Pray like it matters, because it does!”
-quote from Dr. Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist, Memphis, also my brother-in-Christ who shares a spiritual grandfather with me (Dr. Bob Orr – who led both Dr. Gaines and me to saving faith in Jesus.) Now that’s cool, folks!
Please pray for REST2016!