The story you are about to read is true; only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Somewhere across the fruited plain was this dysfunctional church. Beautiful campus; ugly attitudes. The deacons didn’t like the elders; the public address people didn’t like the deaconesses. The adults didn’t like the youth; almost nobody liked the pastor. Getting a consensus on Board actions was about like praying the sun wouldn’t come up. Growth? Well, you can guess. No one likes to walk into a war zone.
The environment almost seemed as though a special retinue of demons had been assigned to create an impenetrable atmosphere of turmoil. And at times it seemed they might be winning.
The pastor and a few of the church leaders began to talk about how God might choose to restore harmony to the campus so the church could once again become the purveyor of hope as He intended. Someone suggested that a prayer walk might be organized. Not in the neighborhood, but in the church. Those who wished to could gather at the church and walk through it, pleading for a renewed sense of God’s presence, a fresh anointing of the space, a casting out of whatever disruptive influences had taken up residence.
One problem: Covid-19. Solution: Let’s do it virtual. What does that even mean? Well, the pastor knew of a prayer group that met by phone every morning for an hour. Let’s ask them if they’d be willing to walk digitally through the church with us, praying as we go. The pastor would lead with a ZOOM camera and the group would pray for the ministry spaces in the church, claiming the promise Moses made to Joshua (14:9) that wherever his feet walked would be his.
It should begin in the parking lot because as the worshipers approach they need to have a sense of the presence of God. From there to the greeters’ stations, that God would teach them how to give a welcome so genuine they could tell they were coming into the presence of Jesus. On down the hall the pray-ers would proceed through the adult classroom areas and plead with God that these would be, not just a place for transmitting information, but a setting for transformation. That there might be many “aha” moments each time the classes met. The children’s classroom areas, that the kids might learn to love Jesus there. Every time the classes met.
Then into the worship center. A sacred place. A place where burdens are lifted, families are reunited, victories are gained, life-trajectories are changed.
The rostrum where music is presented, not as performance but as gifts to God.
And the baptistry…oh, God, keep water in the baptistry where girls and boys and families may leave behind the sins that have been washed away in the cleansing flood.
Father, may the sweet peace of heaven live here. When guests arrive may they know we are Christians by our love. Cast out every dissonant influence, every hint of disunity. By the power of Jesus please make this a place where He has total access to everyone who enters.
Miracles this momentous don’t often happen overnight. But you just watch. The leaders of this congregation believe that what happened here this week will help change the population of eternity. For Your glory, Lord. Amen.
(Could your church profit from a prayer walk or a virtual prayer walk?)
By Don Jacobsen