A few nights ago I was washing dishes and doing my prayer time for our cell group. Ideally, I like to have time where I’m not multitasking, but as a mom of a little one, sometimes I have very limited time and a very long “must do” list. On the other hand, it is a very good exercise in disciplining your mind.
In our previous and current cell group, we have a goal that (except those are not new) everyone prays for our cell group for 15 minutes a day. This is above and beyond our own prayer time and it’s specifically for our cell group. We have a group chat, similar to SMS, that we chime in everyday with a simple “done”. It’s great accountability.
I was working on my “done” and praying along, though feeling somewhat down. Two days prior was our cell group night. We had prepared, cleaned, set up and started our pre-meeting prayer time.
But no one came.
We kept praying anyway. If no one comes, you don’t just sit around, you pray until someone shows up or otherwise the whole time. Another half an hour of prayer. A member of another cell group came to visit, but she’s a strong believer, so we just continued to pray.
Nobody. Our regular members all had things happen or come up. And people we invited were suddenly called into work, etc. It was a disappointment. For me anyhow.
Back to the dishes. So, I was bummed thinking about this while praying. I felt compelled to express what I was really feeling to the Lord instead of just faking “faith-ing it”. I expressed my concern that we weren’t doing it right, we were failing, I must not be “performing” well enough. Failure from the beginning. [key some seriously depressing music]
And the Lord spoke to me, reminding me, that the only failure would be a failure to be faithful.
It’s amazing but, immediately I felt a sense of relief and peace. Faithfulness, that’s all it requires from me. I knew that it was the work of the Holy Spirit and not my work. I knew that it was said to the servant, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. It wasn’t “You did a great job, you really outdid yourself! I’m impressed!” That’s
probably more along the lines of what I prefer. In the latter, the focus then is completely on the “you”, whereas in the former, the focus is rather reflexive. Yes, there is acknowledgment of “you”, but it refers to you as a servant, pointing back to the Lord. “Faithful” points back to the Lord as well.
And yes, there’s a certain element of “performance”, if you could call it that. But it’s more a diligence and a faithfulness to pray, to let the Holy Spirit move and speak through you, to be sensitive to what the Lord is doing each moment, to obey, to learn the language, to be culturally learned, wise and relevant.
But again, that all reflects back to faithfulness and diligence to pray, prepare and obey.
The only failure is, in the end, a failure of faithfulness. It takes a lot of the pressure to produce off. Because the Lord’s reminder to me was, again, reflexive. It’s about Him. I just have to be faithful to Him.
I have to say that this thought has given more excitement to my prayer time.
Mission strategy, mission tools, programs, studies, etc. are all good and extremely useful. But they are not effective without prayer. They are not effective without faithful obedience to the things the Lord shows us… in prayer. It’s a failure, at least long-term.
Simple faithfulness in the foundational things with the Lord, combined with resourcefulness and Godly advice, is a guarantee for success. And honestly, as an innate “performance person”, I can get behind this product.