As we enter 2010 we do so with hope and anticipation of what God will continue to do in and through Denver Community Church. He has worked in us leading us to a place of greater wholeness. He has worked through us revealing to us his strength that is made perfect in our weakness. As we have seen him work and been caught up in what he is doing - we continually reflect our thankfulness back to him.
We do not have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan, or any plan for that matter. No strategic plan for 2010. We do not have any agenda at all. Our heart is to humble ourselves before God and ask him what he wants from us as individuals and as a community of faith.
As we continue to follow after the heart of Jesus we have sensed that God is calling us to pause and to spend a season in which we dedicate ourselves to prayer. We do not believe that prayer is our way to get what we want from God, rather prayer is awakening to God's presence with us and in us. Prayer is God's gift to us, in which we move from self-centeredness to self-surrender.
And so we pray. Together we raise our hearts, spirits, minds, and voices and ask God to reveal himself to us, to guide us as we journey, and bring to us a greater unity in spirit.
Throughout the week we will follow a calendar. Each day of the week has its own theme, which leads from Worship, Awe, and Wonder to Rest. Everyday we will read Scripture, spend time in reflection, and conclude our time of prayer with a prayer, a poem, a thought, or liturgy. As we pray through the weekly calendar we move as a faith community from self-centeredness to self-surrender, asking God to teach us who he is and who we are as his people.
Sunday – Worship, Awe, and Wonder
As we stand together before God, who is present with us, we do so in a posture of awe, wonder, and humility. We begin by worshipping him for we recognize that our true security, hope, healing and salvation is not within us but in the person of God himself.
As we bow down in worship, lift up our voices in song, and throw our hands in the air in praise we proclaim loudly the mystery of God who has had mercy on us. We proclaim the wonder of a God who in becoming like us, died, was buried, and rose again defeating forever the devil and his works of sin and death.
As we, God’s people, gather together we do so with awe for we know that we serve a God who spans the life of an individual, a God who is greater than our nations, a God who gives all good things to the just and the unjust, and yet he still is a God who is close and intimate. We worship and adore him, and when we pray we do so with awe and wonder.
Monday – Listening to God
So often we look for God in the big things. We ask for signs. We wait with expectation for clear messages directly from him. We try to figure him out on our terms. In all of our struggle we have trouble sitting still long enough to see a sign if there one were to come. We clutter our minds with the cares and concerns of our daily routine to point where we cannot decipher any messages, let alone one from God. We have so much static and noise in our world we cannot think straight to figure God out, not to mention simply bask in awe and wonder.
In all of this we must stop, be still, and hush the noise. Because God speaks in a gentle whisper. It is with a still, small voice that he gives us reassurance, instruction, direction, and reminds us that his ways are not our ways.
And so we pray together, we simply slow down. Reaching for the the volume knob and turning it down. By being still and allowing God to remind us: He is in heaven and we are on earth. May our words be few. It is from this posture, at the beginning of each week that we ask God to guide us, to speak to us, to instruct us … all in a gentle whisper. May you have ears to hear.
Tuesday – Wisdom from God
There is a shortage of many things in our world. Wisdom being chief. To be sure we have much knowledge. We have been to the moon and back again. But we have a dearth of true wisdom. We have too much information. But the well of wisdom is run dry. We have news, perspective, and opinions every hour of the day. But when people cry out for wisdom there is no response.
True wisdom is participation with God. Wisdom is an ability that God gives us to see things from his point of view. Wisdom then comes to us as a gift. It is not through learning facts, reading more, or attaining more knowledge that one becomes wise. Rather it is through union with God, in drawing close to him, and in asking him to see as he sees. For those who ask for wisdom God gives it, and he gives it to us generously.
And so we ask God for this wisdom. We ask him to draw us close to him. We ask him to give us the eyes to see what he sees.
Wednesday – God’s Work in Us
As God’s people, holy and dearly loved, we embrace the understanding of journeying. When God called Abram he told him to leave his country, his father’s household, and his land. God told him he would bring him to a new place and from him bring a vast and numerous people. God called Abram on a journey and today he still calls to those who will listen asking all people to move from where they are to the place he will show them.
This journey that we are on is never over. Each day we learn more about ourselves and more about the grace of God. As we continue to move we recognize that life is about movement, not arrival. So we move together, closer to Jesus, becoming more like him in our individual lives and our life together as a community of faith.
And so we ask God to continue to move us. We hear his call anew each day to leave where we are and to go to the place he will show us.
Thursday – God’s Work Through Us
We are the Body of Christ. We are his hands, his feet, his ears, his eyes, and his mouth. Everything we do has eternal importance and significance for we are the workmanship of a loving God, who created us to do good works.
God has empowered us through his Holy Spirit to experience the joy of living out the gospel in our world today. Through us others can experience the peace, love, joy, hope, and redemption that is found in the person of Jesus.
It is with this confidence that we pray together asking God to use us to accomplish his redemptive work in our world.
Friday – God’s Work in the World
Some may look at our world and want to bury their head in the sand, flee to safety, or become cynical. As God’s people we see our world draped in hope because of the God we serve. God has never abandoned the creation he loved, rather in a display of love he gave himself up for its redemption.
We live in difficult times. War, famine, pandemic, slavery, extreme poverty, economic uncertainty, the list goes on. However, we believe that God is in the business of bringing beauty from ashes, and to that end we pray for our world. We pray that he would anoint the world with the oil of joy instead of mourning.
This day we pray with hope, as we see the gift that Jesus was and is. May his redemption continue to spring up in the most unusual places.
Saturdays – Rest
Often we look at rest as something that exists to give us energy so that we can continue to move forward. Many people believe that we as human beings rest so that we can be rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to go again. We rest so we can do.
This is not the mind of God.
Sabbath, a time for rest, occurred first at the end of creation. Sabbath is the only thing in the creation narrative (Genesis 1,2) that God calls holy. God calls everything he created “good,” but rest, which comes at the end of God’s creative work, he calls holy.
It is interesting to note that God did not rest so he could create. Rather he rested after he had created. It is as if rest is the point, not resting to get more energy to do more. Perhaps this is why the writer of Hebrews tells us that the “promise of entering his rest still stands” (Hebrews 4.1). As God’s people our hope is that one day we will find rest in him in the life to come.
Rest reminds us that there is nothing more we can do. Rest teaches us that it is not up to us, but up to God. Rest causes us to reflect that we are not what we do. Rest forces us to recognize that we are not human-doings we are human-beings. When we rest, we simply are given time to be still before God.
And so on this, the last day of the week we rest from our work. We have spent the week listening to God, asking him for wisdom, asking him to transform us, and lead us forward. Now we sit knowing that all of our cares, concerns, hopes, joys, pain, wounds, indeed our very lives are in the hands of an Almighty God … this is reality in which we can simply … rest.
Each day, we invite you to spend time in reflection on Scripture and prayer. Below are some suggested exercises for both. You may find one that fits you well, or you may try several each week. Our hope is that the exercises will serve you and us during this season of prayer and beyond.*
Keeping a prayer journal is more than a diary, a list of the day’s events, or an exercise in the art of writing. A prayer journal enables you to document your journey with Christ. It gives you the joy of seeing where you have been, and where you have come from. Journaling will also help you to establish a daily rhythm of intentionally engaging with God.
Lectio Divina, literally meaning "divine reading," is an ancient practice of praying the scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the "ear of the heart," as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one's relationship with the Divine. (For more information on Lectio Divina, please follow this link ).
Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind. It is a time spent moving toward greater connectedness and union between you and God. Through mediation we create the emotional and spiritual space, which allows Christ to create an inner sanctuary in the heart. The goal of meditation is to open the door to Christ, and invite his living reality into all parts of our life.
(Adapted from Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster)
*For more resources visit Renovaré at http://www.renovare.us/