We have allocated the Tyndale Lounge (the room at the back of the church from the main hall) as a prayer room.
Here is the vision behind this initiative.
VISION STATEMENT FOR THE PRAYER ROOM
1. Jesus is the way to the Father
We come to the prayer room not to merit our way to God or to perform a ritualistic prayer session that feels ‘spiritual’ or ‘close to God’.
In His death on the cross, Jesus broke down the dividing wall between us and God and brought us into union with our Father so that there is nothing keeping us from Him. The sign of this happening was the tearing of the dividing curtain in the temple between the place where worshippers could hangout and the secret place where only priests could go. Jesus is the perfect way to that ‘place’ with God, where we can be in relationship with Him, and truly know Him. This is our only and complete source of hope when we come to the prayer room. We do not come thinking that if we pray lots or in a certain way then He will move. We come because we can come. We come to ask whatever we desire from our Father who loves us and to pour our own love and affection on Him. He has given us access to His heart and has already made us beautifully acceptable to Him and holy in His eyes. This is how we come.
2. The Better Way
This idea comes from the story in Luke 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
As a church we have so many ministries and activities! These are wonderful and fruitful and we want to keep doing them! The prayer room is designed to come alongside the active life of the church and enhance our experience of ministry by ‘sitting at Jesus feet’ – making the most important thing – having hearts that love Him – really part of how we operate as church.
At this point I think it is important to make the distinction clear that spending focused time with God is not in any way ‘more spiritual’ than active ministry and is of the same value – it is all a part of our ‘life lived out’ in response to His love for us. All the prayer room will be is a mechanism that helps to guard us from becoming distracted by anything that would draw us away from the heart of Jesus – there is nothing super spiritual about it, apart from that fact that when we gather – God Himself will be with us.
This dream of unity as we open the prayer room is two fold.
Firstly, many of the ‘praying for others’ slots will cover ministries, activities and roles in the church. This goal behind this is that what is going on in all the nooks and crannies of church life will be made known to people (not breaching confidentiality or anything like that of course) so they can pray – which will also help inform more people of what is going on. The hope is that this will increase our understanding of each other and what’s going on for each other and therefore increase our unity. Where there are really big jobs being done with many busy people, the hope is that in prayer we can learn more how to ‘carry one another’s burdens’.
Secondly, how amazing would it be if we all together carried the life of the church in prayer and in practicality, rather than just a few people or just those who know about things that are going on? How much it would increase our unity! In Psalm 133 It says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life evermore.”
4. Presence into Purpose (Intimacy into Fruitfulness)
This final vision point is really the culmination of the second two. Presence into purpose is essentially talking about how the manifest presence of God among His people motivates and gives power to us as we accomplish things for Him. We see this sometimes in the bible, where either prayer or the presence of God precedes God moving. For example, when God in Ex 33 asks Moses to lead the Israellites to a new place, Moses pleads with God to send His distinctive presence with them, saying, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with… your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
And in the New Testament Jesus commands His followers, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field.” (Matt 9:38) communicating that we must ask that mission would be effective in order for it to be!
In the book of John a message runs through several chapters(14-16), teaching us that unless we abide (remain, stay, live) in Jesus and His words to us, we will not ‘bear’ any ‘fruit’ – meaning that without the intimacy of walking with God in believing and acting on His words and actually being with Him, we will not produce anything in life that has eternal value. He Himself is the source of all productive Kingdom work. Again the ‘remaining’ and ‘abiding’ is not spending ‘special’ time with God in the prayer room but it is an action of the heart. However the prayer room will facilitate the abiding, reminding us to keep coming to the place of sitting with each other and with God, giving our hearts to understanding and living out His words as He teaches us together, and gives us His power to do His mission.