Karen Juul-Nielsen has been tireless as a member of the team in Bellaire-Southwest since she said “yes” to serving during CityFest. Though she is active in many parts of the B-SW team efforts, she is officially the Prayer Mobilization Coordinator. More than a few times Karen has confided that she has felt discouraged by a seeming lack of response to her attempts to enlist prayer and pray-ers in the CSA. (Some of you at this point may be thinking, “and she’s not alone!”) Getting commitments to unified prayer targets, let alone common times or places for folks to gather and pray, has been an elusive goal in spite of the rhetoric about how essential prayer is.
A few months ago as the CSA team listened to Karen someone made a suggestion: what if we scale back our expectations and gave congregations an easy way to incorporate a few items in their every Sunday prayers or in their bulletins? Willing to try, the team decided that the needs of the schools they had adopted would be a good place to start. But then they realized that beyond needing mentors, money and makeovers, the team didn’t know for sure what else was on the wish list of the staff. So several of them made a commitment to contact the principals and ask them directly.
It turned out that the principals deeply appreciated being asked, and knowing that it was because the team wanted to enlist people to pray for the school’s specific needs and wants. And the requests given by the principals made it easy for Karen and the team to produce clear, measurable prayer targets. They limited the list to just a few of the more pressing needs, and sent them out to contacts and leaders in local congregations with a note asking that congregation members be made aware of the needs of the two local schools and be given opportunity and invitation to pray for them. Lo and behold several of the congregations put the name of the school and one or more of the requests in their bulletin. At least one included the targets during the time of congregational prayer in their Sunday service. And a few people wrote or called the CSA team members to thank them for giving information about the schools to pray about.
This may not yet be “fervent, passionate, united intercessions,” but it is a start. Not only that, it is united, it is intercession, and it is a low-cost invitation to prayer from the Body of Christ in which there exists varying levels of commitment to prayer. I encourage you to try this relational and simple approach this month. Please let me and Karen know how folks and congregations in your CSA respond. And know that our team is praying for you as press on to mobilize united intercessions, clinging to the promise that “if any two of you agree as to touching anything …” (Matt. 18:19).