This past Sunday I shared a message with our church family to offer an update on our journey towards purchasing land for our future church home. It was full of maps, our latest financial information and ways we’ve been working to get prepared. I also shared some of the truths and promises that God has been teaching me as I’ve watched a few small acorns collected last fall from Cornerstone Church emerge out of the soil into young seedlings. If you’re a part of our church family and missed it, you’ll probably want to go back and listen to it from our website so you can stay informed.
It’s been a few days now since I shared all of this and through some time in prayer I’ve begun to realize and own the reality in my heart that I had hoped to share something very different with our people. I had hoped to be able to communicate, “Hey everybody, we’ve found the place!” Or something like, “We’re working with someone and getting close to a contract on ______ piece of land.” Or possibly even, “God has moved in the heart of a person to make a land gift to our church!” But I didn’t share any of those things at all. Instead, I shared about disappointments. I shared about plans that we thought would happen, not happening. I shared about a tough sellers market where land goes fast to the high-powered bidders.
But as I look back on this I can also see how this reality pressed me into something else, into a calling for our whole church to pray. So last Friday morning I printed out and cut up a stack of cards with this simple invitation, “Today I join my church in praying for PROVISION, FAVOR, and CLARITY.“ Then I watched on Sunday morning as a whole gym full of people responded by coming up to our make shift alter and picking one up as if to say, “I’m all in. I’m committed. I’m will pray.” It was a beautiful scene and honestly one that likely would have never happened had I instead shared, “Hey everybody, we found the place!”
So here’s what I’m wondering. What if God is not nearly as interested in delivering land into our hands right now as he is interested in deepening the faith of our whole church through this process? What if he is desiring for this work of prayer and discovery to rest on the whole body and not just a few people? What if there are deeper wells of life he desires for us to drink from that we will only find together in prayer? What if he is using this process to firm up our trust in him and prepare us for the even bolder steps he will put before this church in the future? And what if he simply wants to awaken us to see and experience a greater measure of his glory that can only be found through the depths of prayer? I can say with a firm conviction that I now believe all of this to be true.
So our leaders and myself are continuing to discern how to get on board and join Jesus in this work of prayer that he is revealing and leading us into. One practical and tangible step already emerging is a “Week of Prayer” – a 24-hour, 7-day week of continuous prayer. Yes, it’s bold – but we can do it. We will communicate more details on this as it unfolds but know that this will be held in our Oak Park office during the week of Sunday June 18th through Saturday June 24th.
I end with these guiding words for us from one of God’s spokespersons, the Prophet Jeremiah:
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16