I have to admit, I was blown away. I attended a prayer meeting last week where the focus of the prayer group completely surprised me.
As the new director of the GSAE, I was invited to attend this particular prayer meeting with the understanding that the group wanted to hear a little bit about the vision and mission of the GSAE, what we are up to, and to find out how they can pray for me and for us. While all of that certainly occurred and was no surprise, what did take me aback was their weekly prayer focus.
This local Spokane group had broken up the entire planet into the 24 times zones using a world map lying on the table in front of us. In orderly fashion, three members of the group each took eight of the time zones and we all prayed for the eight zones led by this one person. The leader started at the top of the time zone in the Arctic, and prayed through all of the countries and many of the larger cities and territories down to the Antarctic. By the end of our prayer, we prayed over the entire globe. How often do they do this? Every. Single. Week. Why should that be a shock to me? After all, the Bible teaches us we are to pray for the lost:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2
And we are called to share Jesus with the entire world because God cares about every human on our planet:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
~ Acts 1:8
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
~ Mark 16:15-16
I think what shocked me was that this work has been going on for years, and I had no idea. We all tend to live in our own sheltered little bubble and frankly “we don’t get out as much as we should”.
In my short few months as a GSAE board member and my even shorter time as the Executive Director, I have been absolutely delighted at the ministry that is going on every day that I didn’t know about.
We’ve all been told for some time that Spokane is one of the “most unchurched cities” in the US. What that means is that fewer Spokane residents say that they have attended church regularly (a single service in the last 6 months!) than in most other cities in our nation. We’re not talking about the “Top 100”, we are talking about the “Top 10” (http://leadnet.org/most_and_least_unchurched_cities/).
I came into this position knowing those statistics. But let me tell you this: God doesn’t care about statistics. He cares about individual souls. And so does our local Christian community. In the past 6 months, I have been enriched and encouraged learning about the incredible work for Christ being done right here. Our local Christian ministries are impacting men, women, and kids in our neighborhoods and schools. They are also reaching out globally to the far corners of the earth! So be encouraged with me, as we at the Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals strive to serve our local churches to disciple believers in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene metro areas.
(Check out our new vision and mission here.)
We covet your prayers as we work to serve our local body of Christ. God bless.