My prayers for MAC this year is to see our church to grow in deeper spiritual vitality and wider in creative engagement. Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus reveals his prayer for that community:
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
It is with this prayer of Paul has for the church of Ephesus that inspired my prayers for our church here in Midtown.
Deeper spiritual vitality:
1. May our deeper spiritual vitality be reflected in our spiritual formation. It is one thing to know about God but it is one thing to KNOW Him and be KNOWN. When someone is known by Him they will be transformed by Him from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:16-18) It is my prayer that we will deepen our relationship with the Lord that we are experiencing His presence in all of our lives and transforming us to His likeness day by day.
2. May our deeper spiritual vitality be reflected in our relational formation. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains in Life Together, we are called to take on one another’s burdens it is truly experiencing Christ at work in community. To grow in knowing Him requires an expression through the community. It is in community we experience authenticity, healing, restoration, reconciliation, hope, change… it is important to foster and create spaces for the purpose of deepening of relationship and friendship.
Wider reaching by His wide love:
1. Living Room: one of the wider reach is for us to consider how to become a community like a living room. I am always inspired by where Jesus meets the least and the unlikelies, often it is in the dining (living) room as they recline at the table enjoying a meal. (Matthew 9:10-13) It is a living room because that is one of the best environments for engaging with our neighbours. This is often the entry point for anyone into our spaces at home. At the same time it is a living room because the room is alive for the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of the people. As we grow in seeing His love expand that it too will expand and grow the room.
2. Active Imagination: I believe that creativity and imagination is God’s gift to us. As Isaiah paints the picture in Isaiah 43 that God is indeed doing something new: even making a river in the dry desert. God is at work in creating something new in the world and has invited His church to participate in His work. My prayer is that we will learn to listen, discern and act boldly towards fresh and new ways to see His love tangible here on earth.
3. Gospel in Life: Colossians 3 reminders us that in everything that we do whether words or deeds may we do it onto the Lord. I recognize that every parts of our lives are important spaces for God to work out His mission; whether in schools, work, coffee shop, gym, etc. When we are learning and growing to see His gospel at work in all of our lives we grow to extend the reaches of His love wherever we go.
May this year be full of deeper and wider life together!