At some point in your gathering spend a moment taking communion together, whether as a full meal together or some version of the bread and the cup. If you don’t have a plan already, you can have someone read the following passage we’ve provided below and spend a moment in silence before continuing:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
Yours is the Kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen
Prayer is a compelling wonder: God acting on earth in response to conversation with a human being. And yet, prayer is also a confounding mystery: God doesn’t seem to always do what we want when we pray. So, for many, our prayers live paralyzed between wonder and mystery, which can result in our prayers being safe and somewhat passive. In this confusion we can stop praying, let alone praying boldly.
But prayer is also a profound invitation. The Scriptures tell the story of God partnering with humans in managing his creation. More than just giving God a to do list, prayer is the way by which we relationally partner with God to rule and reign in our world, to see his kingdom come and his will be done. In the midst of the communication breach brought about by the fall, prayer becomes the means by which we push back the curse that’s infected the world and infected us. See, while we dream of a God who brings heaven to earth, God simultaneously dreams of a praying people to share heaven with.
This week, we want to talk about and practice a particular type of prayer that involves praying on behalf of other people, called intercession. The motive behind all true intercessory prayer is love for the other. It is the distribution of God’s resources to those around us, as we rule and reign with him. Intercession restores our world and restores the God-given identity breathed into us first.
- Prayer is a compelling wonder (God’s hand moves to action when we pray), a confounding mystery (sometimes God doesn’t seem to hear us), and a profound invitation (God invites us to help distribute the resources of Heaven). Which of these help name your current experience with prayer?
- What is your experience with intercession? Where have you experienced its fruit? (Perhaps you have seen God move through your own intercession. Maybe you’re being here is the result of someone else’s intercession.)
- How are you feeling about the Prayer Room for the month of February?
Practice for Tonight
The Practice for tonight has two parts:
1. Pick an hour to go to the Prayer Room together — We would love to see every Community who is able spend one hour together in the Prayer Room during the month of February. Spend a few moments picking an available hour and having someone sign up at bridgetown.church/prayerroom.
2. Start praying together tonight — One of the goals of every Bridgetown Community is to be on mission in some way. Whether or not your Community has an active place that it is serving to see the renewal of our city, we would really encourage you to pray. We believe that prayer changes reality and moves God’s hand to action. It’s a way by which we partner with God to see his Kingdom come and his will be done in our lives and in our world. Because of this, we believe that prayer is a form of mission. Not only does prayer actively change the world, it also changes us: in prayer we can experience God’s invitation to become an answer to the exact prayers we were praying.
Take some time tonight for intercessory prayer. Begin to name the things in our city, in the lives of your neighbors, at your work, in your neighborhood, where you want to see God change reality — and ask him to do it. And, as you pray, also listen for God’s voice, to see if he is inviting you to participate in that distribution of Heaven’s resources.
Close in prayer, thanking God for what he is doing through your prayers and committing to continue praying for the renewal of our city.
Practice for the Week Ahead
The Practice for this week is also twofold:
1. Sign up for the Prayer Room — Not only do we want to see every Community sign up for an hour in the Prayer Room together, but we’d also love to see everyone who is able also sign up for their own slot to spend an hour in prayer alone. Sign up at bridgetown.church/prayerroom.
2. Begin an intercessory prayer rhythm — Consider setting aside some time this week to try interceding for your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, or total strangers. Whether God brings people to your mind or whether you make a list, take some time and ask for the resources of Heaven on behalf of those in your life.
Close in Prayer
Before you end your time together, pray, asking the Spirit of God to fill and empower you to pray as you can. Take some time to pray for other prayer requests as they come up.