Prayer Challenge Day 13: Giving away what we have to others

David not only had the calling of being a king, he had to train others to succeed him. He failed twice in doing this, and the third time had some success with his son Solomon.

As alcoholics anonymous tell us, the 12th step is always helping others to do what we her ourselves have done, however imperfectly.

Today, ask God to help them not only do what God has put in their hearts to do, but also to help others do it as well. None of us are supposed to only do, and never equip. Are there ways your friend needs to see their opportunities to give away what they have? Do they need to be affirmed in what they already are, so that they have more confidence in passing it on to others? Whatever you see as an opportunity or challenge for your friend to do this, write it down, and share with them when you can.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 12: David and Absalom – getting over self-hatred and failure

All of us struggle with their own failure. Unless we’re truly crazy!

David had a huge moral failure when he killed one of his own soldiers and took his wife. When his own son Amnon had a similar failing, David did nothing. It seems as if he had not gotten over his own failure enough to discipline his son.

Our calling is fraught with many failures on the way to success. Do you see anyways that your friends past failures may inhibit them serving now? Is guilt or shame still hanging over them? Pray for them today in any issues you might know of; be open to sharing your journey of failure with them, and asking about theirs.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 11: Dancing in the face of disrespect

One of the very highest moments for David was bringing the Ark of God to Jerusalem. He danced and celebrated, and sacrificed the whole journey; he made a big deal of it.

Somebody needs to celebrate and value the contributions and calling of your friend. Can you help them see the beauty and goodness of their calling? Can you join them in dancing, so to speak, about the joy of their journey?

There will be those, like David’s wife Michal, who mocked him for it. There will also be those, like Uzzah, who won’t value your friends calling. How can you help your friend to feel the joy of what they are doing despite the mockers and detractors?

 

Prayer Challenge Day 10: Carrying our responsibilities well

What are the things that have been entrusted to your friend?

Though David was a young teenager when he knew he had been chosen to be king, it wasn’t until his thirties that he came into the full responsibility of his calling. Likewise, it may take a long time before we feel we really are interested with the things that we are to carry in our service to the world. And we may never know exactly what the full extent of it is, or what will be in the future.

But whatever it is that has been entrusted us to do and to be, we should honor those responsibilities as a sacred trust. What are those things for your friend now? They may not be an official responsibility. They may not have a title or position attached to them. But as you pray for your friend, think of what people around them rely on them for now, and affirm this to your friend. Ask God to give them the adequate support and resources for carrying out this trust.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 9: Deployed, but without support

One of the things that God does with all of us is to give us seasons, perhaps very long seasons, of doing things that he is giving us to do without enough resources to do them in a big way. One of the purposes of this time is to help us learn creativity with our calling, finding small ways to do these things that don’t rely on lots of money, or resources, or even time. Another purpose is the purification of our motives, as we have to choose to do these things whether or not anyone recognizes their value or significance.

David knew he was to become king of the whole nation, but for about seven years he only had one-twelfth of the resources, as only the tribe of Judah came around him.

As you lift up your friend to God this morning, notice if there are things that are truly on their heart to be and do that they are under-resourced with time, money, or connections to do fully. Are there ways that you could encourage them in the way that they give themselves to serve, whether big or small? With little resources or with many makes no difference in God’s eyes. Jesus said that the Widow’s pennies were worth more to God then all the big donations that came from people who only gave out of their excess.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 8: The Cave Years – waiting and learning the lay of the land

After David already had strong hints of what his future was to be about, and even had a good dose of early success, he was driven away by the jealousy of others into poverty and years of feeling fruitless.

Has your friend, or is your friend, in a place in their life where they feel fruitless? Do they need your encouragement to understand that everyone is led by God at some time into a period of relative fruitlessness, for the purpose of purifying motives and testing their resolve?

Pray for them if they are in a time like this. Offered them your encouragement in whatever way you can.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 6: Teams and friendship

We all have different ways and styles of friendship. But whether we are extroverts or introverts, there are those that are closest to us that we rely on most intimately for feedback about our lives, as well as those that we work with to achieve a common goal.

David’s most intimate friend was Jonathan. He trusted Jonathan to share his thoughts on how he saw David. David did the same in return. In some ways, this parallels what we are doing in these two weeks of telling each other what we are seeing each other.

David also had to find allies that would work with him in conquering his enemies and achieving his goals. They were his team of “mighty men,” and the “band of discontents” that he gathered in the cave of Adullam. All of us also need people to collaborate with in achieving the passions of our lives.

Pray for your friend’s friends. Ask God to give them insight and courage to speak what they see in the person you are praying for today. Ask God also to show you how this person’s friends can contribute to them working towards their calling. Ask God to strengthen your friends service or leadership in the community around them, and recognize the valuable contribution they are making. Tell them what you see them doing in their circle of friends and their community. Thank them.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 5: David, prayer and art

It’s not that some kind of people are artists, the truth is that everyone is some kind of artist.

It is also true that the way that we see good in the world – our artists eye – influences what we love to do. Shepherd-boy David became a king that would have many earmarks of shepherding, and all because as a young man he saw that God himself was a shepherd. He created a vivid picture in his mind through his songwriting that portrayed the beauty that he saw in God as a shepherd. This stayed with him and influenced him all his life.

As you pray for your friend, ask God to show you the way you that your friend has an artist’s eye. How do they see beauty in God’s world? It can be anything from the way a math equation is solved, to the way that mechanics work, to the way that they love movies, or music, or cooking. Think of your friends most loved moments in whatever might be there way of enjoyment. What does this tell you about the good that they have seen in God? Do they love cooking because they love hospitality, and ultimately they love the warm hospitality given by God? Do they love the beautiful plays of a hockey team in the Stanley Cup, because they love teamwork or the ability to conquer a challenge? Perhaps ultimately they have a heart of a challenger of injustice, or for facilitating community in a house group?

Always write down what you see in your friend. Share with them.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 4: Our lives are part of a larger battle

Think about your friend, and any struggles you know about that they have.

David had his own struggles. He was constantly harassed by the dangers to his sheep. He had the struggle of staying warm and dry out in the fields. He had to endure physical hardship. But one day he heard the voice of a giant threatening things bigger than his own situation. He was able to lift his eyes and see the bigger picture of his times, the challenges that they all faced together. And he knew that his personal challenges were real but very secondary to the bigger ones facing his nation at the moment. So he gave himself to those bigger purposes as well.

What do you see in your friend’s life that are challenges they are concerned about that are larger than themselves? Are there issues of justice or compassion in the world that tug at their heart? As you pray for them, ask God to connect them to his larger purposes in this world, and ask God to show them potential for service or leadership in these ways.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 3: Saul’s Armor – One size doesn’t fit all

When David faced a huge challenge – a huge warrior was defying his God and his nation – the King gave him his armor. It was the best armor available, but the problem was that it didn’t fit David. David had to say no to this great piece of armor in order to find his own style… Which was no more than shepherd’s clothes with a sling and five stones. But… it worked for him!

Just like David, we have to face our own unique strengths and weaknesses, and what works for other people will not necessarily work for us. This brings us to the problem of comparison. Today, pray that your friend will not suffer from comparing themselves to others in ways that keeps them from embracing their own uniqueness. Pray that they will be uninhibited in seeing the ways that they are to shine, without spending time on the question of whether it’s better or worse than the way that others do. Pray that they will have the courage to take off Saul’s armor, and find their own unique style and gifting that God has put in them.

It is true that sometimes we have to try on someone else’s style before we find our own. Pray for your friend, that if they’ve had situations where they have been forced into doing something that doesn’t work for them, that these experiences will result in learning not wounds.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 2: Low-stakes risk-taking

As you think about your friend today, can you recall any times of them taking risks in their life to do something they thought was worth doing?

David took a risk to protect his sheep from a bear, and survived. It gave him confidence to do the same again, this time from a lion.  His confidence built up to challenge a giant warrior, and finally, to challenge the enemies of his country with fierceness and love for his people.

Before God leads us to the higher-stakes challenges of our lives, he prepares us at a lower level of risk.  Perhaps the risks we see our friends taking, or that we know about in their past, show us something of the greater challenges up ahead.  Did they ever risk all to form a relationship?  Did they ever stand up to some injustice as a kid?  Did they ever organize something small that could be beginnings of a broader calling to carry out larger visions?  Notice any patterns that might be emerging, and encourage your friend, blessing them for the risks they have taken that could grow and larger things in their life.

 

Prayer Challenge Day 1: Seeing the Oak in the Acorn

Every tree begins from a small seed that bears little outward resemblance to the tree it will someday become. It’s usually difficult to tell much about a baby’s future from its personality at birth, as well.  But not long afterwards, both saplings and toddlers demonstrate some of their uniqueness.

Not long after I transplanted an oak tree into my yard, the nearby bonfire withered the leaves, and taking it for dead, I chopped it down.  I was surprised to see that, months afterwards, leaves were springing up from the tiny stump.  The oak tree is a very strong wood, and hardy.  I recognized the strength in the sapling that will one day make a strong and resilient tree in my back yard – and it is once again on its way to being a mighty oak. But the amazing qualities of a mature oak tree can be seen when it is still small.

Though even Jesse, David’s dad, was surprised to see David chosen to be future king, Samuel had the insight to see that God had found “a man after his own heart,” who was a young shepherd – but would one day become a shepherd king.

Now hold your friend up in prayer, and picture them. Pray for insight into them. If it’s true that God formed us even before birth, there must often be indications from our earliest years that he has established some unique things for each of us, to do and to be.  Do you know stories of the younger years of your friend’s life?  Are there any that seem to you to have prophetic significance of God’s calling on their life?  Think about what you know of their early years, and ask God for insight into them, blessing them, and giving thanks. Write down what you get, for later sharing in person, or a quick text to encourage their day.

 

Invitation to Pray – Invitation to Grow

2016 Budget:  $441,580
Offerings to date:  $369, 842
What we still need for December:  $71, 738

These, simply, are the numbers regarding our current 2016 financial reality.  While they are, in one way, our current situation, there is another reality at work behind these numbers.  That is the simple truth that God provides and always has provided for us.  This should induce hope and faith, and dispel panic and worry.  It should not, however, cause us to become complacent.  The staff and Board of Directors diligently and prayerfully set budgets and keep track of expenses and income throughout the year, and each year around this time we are reminded of our dependence on God.  This annual reminder of our reliance on him in this way has changed us for the better – it’s formed us.  Yes, we all need to be diligent and faithful in our giving (thank you for that), but ultimately, it comes from him.

With that in mind we’d like to invite you to join us in holding our collective financial situation up to the Lord, knowing that as we do so, he hears us, provides for us and changes us.  The Staff, Pastoral and Lay Elders and the Board of Directors have been fasting and praying on Tuesdays.  You are invited to join us!

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-59-00-amThis call to prayer and fasting is not a manipulative attempt to get WCVers to “dig deeper”.  Far from it!  It is a call to lay our cares before the “Lord of the harvest” – to offer our concerns and cares up to him – and as we do so, we are changed.  We become more reliant on him.  We become more trusting in his provision.  Gratitude is stirred in us for the ways he does provide for us collectively.  The exciting opportunity is that we are changed in the process!  

Will you join us?