We, your pastors and Church Council, have designated 2018 to be a year of prayer at Aldersgate. (Of course, every year should be, but we want to put special emphasis on it this year.) I pray you are enjoying and benefiting from the book, Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, by Mark Baerson that we handed out in January. I also pray that you have been “circling” our common church concerns in prayer (The Bishop and District Superintendents as they discern the next pastor for Aldersgate and the continued financial health of the church).
Baerson took his idea of “circling” things in prayer from a legend. By the year before Jesus Christ was born it had been about 400 years since there were prophets in Israel and at the me miracles were very rare. There was a severe drought that was threatening people’s lives and livelihoods. Honi, an eccentric sage who lived outside of Jerusalem, drew a circle around himself in the dirt.
Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. With the authority of the prophets of old, he prayed: “Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle unl You have shown mercy upon Your children.” Baerson writes, “His prayer was resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming.” (Circle Maker, p. 10) As he prayed, it began to sprinkle. People were awed, yet Honi continued to pray. “Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.” And then it began to pour.
The point is not how quickly God answered. Honi could have been in that circle a long me. What’s important is that he was committed to keep praying until God answered. He got the answer he was seeking because it was in line with God’s will. We are called to keep praying even though God may not answer us exactly the way we want. Somemes we get other answers, for example “no” or “not yet.” The key is to pray as Honi did, “resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming” trusting in God no matter what.
I also encourage you to find a couple other people to join with in prayer on a regular basis. We would love for you to join us at 8 AM on Sunday mornings in the parlor for prayer. We will be having a special prayer service on March 2 at 7 PM. We hope you’ll join us and perhaps share one of your experiences with prayer. No matter what, pray, pray, pray!
Blessings and Prayers,