For most people, attending church on a Sunday is the first priority, the main point of connecting with God and making friends. Secondly, perhaps you might join a City Group to deepen friendships and serve a certain part of the city. Thirdly, attending the prayer and worship night, that’s only for the really committed, right?
However I want to explain below why the prayer and worship night is the engine room of the church. A chance to connect and pray as a group, where the church can come together to pray for each other, the city and further afield. Throughout the Bible, we have seen the power of prayer. Seemingly desperate situations can be turned around through prayer and allowing God in to work. The Bible urges us to pray. In Ephesians 6:18 it says:
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
After a Wednesday at work, it’s easy to head home and opt out. After all, isn’t an evening eating comfort food and watching Netflix a much more attractive option? Initially that would be my choice, but thankfully I can get past my initial thoughts and desires. Why? Because I know I will be strengthened by going and also that if I listened to my initial feelings I would probably not get much done at all. Like going to the gym, if you left it to your feelings, how many times would you make it down?
That is where the church is different to the world. The world’s view is that we can do what we want, when we want. We have infinite choices and we love to have the option to do what we feel like doing. No commitment, just new experiences and in the moment decisions. God wants our commitment and discipline is important in achieving this. Being disciplined and going to a prayer and worship night when we are tired or hangry or we just want to hide away from the world, is what God wants. It shows our commitment to him, and that is what he desires.
One of the beauties of a prayer and worship night is in its simplicity. It’s a bunch of people who are keen to worship God and pray. That’s it. I love and need this outward focus. It’s firstly about focusing on God and being thankful for what he has done in our lives. It’s also about focusing on other people, who need prayer, turning to God to ask for his help and intercession. It’s so important to listen to God and understand what he has in store for us. All this brings us closer to understanding God’s heart and his love for his people.
There is great happiness in hearing answered prayer, to know God has listened, heard and intervened. We remember this is not due to the quality of our prayers but because of his mercy and what he has done through Jesus, our mediator. Prayer and worship nights help us to be humble, to know that everything was created by him and to focus our lives outwardly knowing that we need him.
I have never left a prayer and worship evening, wishing I hadn’t gone. To stir our hearts for others and to pray for them collectively is a great thing and you will be benefiting yourself as well as those around you, in the city and afar. So get past the tiredness, comfort food and Netflix and come along. You won’t be disappointed.
Alongside our prayer and worship evenings, we have a prayer team that would love to pray for you. Do fill in this form and people from the church will pray for you right away!
(By Greg Sykes*)
*This is part of a short series of blog posts written by James Bass and Greg Sykes who have joined the church in the last year. We hope they help you think about how you connect to Christ City Church and form good friends.