Lately, we’ve been dedicating our Friday nights to prayer and simple pursuit of the Lord. There is a small group of us from our larger community who have decided to do this together and I have been blown away by how the Lord has been using our time together.
Each week looks different. We all pray separately about what the Lord wants us to do for the evening and as we’ve followed His lead we’ve seen some physical healing, and lots of emotional and spiritual healing. We’ve seen our souls bonded together in a deeper love for Christ and for one another. It has truly been the most beautiful picture of the Church in action that I’ve ever been a part of.
And it is so simple.
Last week when we gathered together I was in a really tough place emotionally and spiritually. Our youngest had been really fussy and needy all week long, our daughter Clara had been sick, and in the midst of all the hard stuff at home, I was working really hard to launch a new website for MDM.
The truth is, I was trying to do too much and was putting my own desires and agenda above the immediate needs of my family. On the outside, it wasn’t obvious because I would set aside the computer to snuggle sweet Clara and work one-handed while holding Eloise. But in my heart, the enemy was having a field day. Resentment was running rampant as I watched my husband leave for work each day knowing that I’d struggle to accomplish anything at all at home with the kids.
My thought life was a mess and by the end of the week, my inward struggle seeped out and put a strain on my marriage. And I don’t know about y’all but when something I’ve done puts a strain on a relationship I value so deeply it weighs super heavily on me.
So, by the time prayer night rolled around I was a pile of frustration and discouragement parked on the couch; present more because we were hosting than because I was truly desiring to take part. I truly felt hopeless, like the resentment was too big and too ugly.
We started with some unstructured worship time during which I flipped through my Bible still very much stuck in my hopelessness. But afterward, we prayed. My brother-in-law Adam shared that He felt like the Lord wanted us to focus on thankfulness.
As each person prayed their prayer of thankfulness out loud I was somewhat dreading my turn because I knew the truth. I was still very much stuck in my resentment and thankfulness and resentment are two things that cannot coexist.
During his prayer, my husband thanked the Lord for me and all the sacrifices I make as a mom, even as we were in this place of tension and struggle with one another. It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit spoke to me.
“I love you.”
“Confess and repent.”
“My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
And so I did. Out loud in a room full of other believers, I obeyed the prompting of the Lord and humbled myself. I confessed. I repented. And nobody in the room thought any less of me. They loved me, encouraged me, showed compassion for me in the midst of a difficult season. They were the hands and feet of Christ binding up the wounds my own sinful nature had created.
It was beautiful. It was redemptive.
By the time we ended our prayer night and everyone went home, things between Kevin and I were immensely better. With the support and encouragement of community, I had released the resentment and in their loving response, I found hope again.
Y’all, that is what this Christian life is about. That is the power of repentance; the power of biblical community in action.
“So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed.”James 5:16
Our Friday nights have ignited a passion in me for biblical community. For a church that looks like the early church. We’ve discussed off and on over the last year, if we should stay at our current church or if the Lord is calling us elsewhere. Every time I prayed about it I felt the Lord saying the same thing to me.
“Friday nights, give me your Friday nights.”
And so we have.
And so we’ll continue to do.
I don’t know what the Lord has planned for our Friday nights, but I know it is a powerful gathering of the church that I never want to miss.
Our community may look very different than yours but the purpose and foundation should be the same. I love this quote from Jennifer Welker’s conversation with Jamie Ivey on the Happy Hour a couples weeks ago:
“When you live unoffended by someone’s sin it allows for the shame to be removed so that the real work can be done.” -Jennifer Welker (Happy Hour, Episode #238)
My prayer is that the church as a whole would be a people who live unoffended by each other’s sin. That shame would be removed, and as a result, the Lord’s work will be done mightily in and through us. Friends, let’s be Christians who love each other unconditionally and do not flee when times are tough but dig in deeper on behalf of our brothers and sisters. This world is a broken one, but the Lord did not leave us to face it alone. He gifted us with the Holy Spirit and with each other. Let’s not waste his good good gifts!
How is the Lord currently using biblical community in your life? If you aren’t involved maybe the Lord is challenging you to change that. If you are involved maybe He is calling you deeper, into a new level of vulnerability with Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Father, we love you. We long for you. Hasten the day when all of the wrongs are made right, and we see you face to face. Help us be a people who use our time here on Earth to go to battle for you and for each other. Make us mighty warriors in your name Lord. Let us not shy away from a fight that will ultimately bring healing to our souls and so much glory to your name. Be our strength, our shield, our sword. Thank you Lord. Amen.”