Is anyone excited to go prayer walking as a group again?!? If so then we have good news: This Saturday, October 31 from 10am-12pm we’re starting back up after a long hiatus due to Covid-19. In our previous post about Prayer Walking, we encouraged everyone to be prayer walking their neighborhoods regularly so hopefully doing that has been life giving and fruitful for everyone. Going out as a group is very special and so we are looking forward to praying and worshiping together as we share in the joy of the Lord.

A small group of us went out to try it out before officially launching, and it was such a joyous occasion! Read on below:

We went out with the guidance that we were to pave the way for more prayer walking and for God to move in preparing hearts of people that we’ll interact with on future occasions. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and we were able to pray in unity as we listened to what the Holy Spirit was saying and followed His leading. Even as we prayed, we met neighbors and blessed them and were blessed in return. Just with our small group we talked and prayed with a dozen people around the neighborhood.

Prayer walking is for everyone and we encourage everyone to come! If you haven’t done this kind of outreach before, this group is a great way to try it out. We go out without an agenda or a script, sometimes we are led to pray for the neighborhood, sometimes we meet neighbors and get to know them, and we always pray for people, whether directly or not. It’s a wonderful way to practice gifts that the Lord gives, it’s great because we all need practice and the world needs what we have to offer from the Lord. People are always blessed by God when we go out and so are we. So come and we’ll enjoy working for the Lord together!

Our previous post has a live CALENDAR which can be viewed any time incase you’d like a reminder of when we’re going out as a group. We’ll gather no matter the weather, we love those sunny days but rain or snow aren’t a hinderance when the goal is to pray! You may sync this calendar on your favorite device using the instructions here: Prayer Walking Calendar

Lastly, you may wonder why we chose Halloween as our starting time. We’d like to walk around blessing the neighborhood with the light of Christ on a day that normally is dedicated to darkness. After this, we’ll plan on going out every other Saturday for the rest of 2020, and we’ll re-evaluate and let you know what the 2021 schedule will be toward the end of this year. We hope to see you at Prayer Walking!

As a community we just experienced a series on lament as an expression of faith. It was mostly “personal” in focus, but the Lord also calls us to corporately lament evil, injustice—anything short of his kingdom and his glory. And now, in light of ongoing and recent events, we invite you to do that via the prayer below.

 

This prayer is long and rich and it may take extended time for you to be fully immersed in it; to that end, feel free to come back to it, use it for your personal devotional time, or work through it however you feel led as together we pray in the fullness of God’s Kingdom.

A Prayer of Lament and Repentance for Racism

 

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, and in our nation, as it is in heaven.

 

Lord, as we reflect on your kingdom, these thoughts come to mind:

 

Light-We give thanks and praise to you Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

 

Righteousness, Peace and Joy-Lord, your Word teaches us that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

 

Justice-Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

 

Lord, we bring our heartache and pain to you, as we have witnessed and heard about acts of violence and hatred against our brothers and sisters of color in the past several weeks, months and many years in this nation’s history.

 

We lament the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this past week.  We cry tears of grief with his family and cry out on behalf of all people of color, who once again experience acts of aggression, oppression and murder.  How long oh Lord, how long?

 

How long will prejudice and racial bias result in misinterpreting situations and result in wrongful actions and reactions?  Christ, have mercy!

 

We lament the violence and chaos that has erupted as demonstrations have become violent.  Lord, have mercy!

 

We repent of ways we have participated, knowingly or unknowingly, in the sin of racism (thinking lower of a person or group of people or harboring hatred toward them, based on the color of their skin.)  We acknowledge that racism is “not a skin problem, it is a sin problem”, and so we ask you Lord to search our hearts and reveal if any of these things are present:

 

Have I fully loved God and fully loved my neighbor as myself?

Have I caused pain to others by my actions or my words that offended my brother or my sister?

Have I done enough to inform myself about the sin of racism, its roots, and its historical and contemporary manifestations? Have I opened my heart to see how unequal access to economic opportunity, jobs, housing, and education on the basis of skin color, race, or ethnicity, has denied and continues to deny the equal dignity of others?

Is there a root of racism within me that blurs my vision of who my neighbor is?

Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone “fell victim” to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and I did or said nothing, leaving the victim to address their pain alone?

 

Allow Time for Personal Reflection and Repentance Aloud, as encouraged in James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

 

Father, we thank you for your forgiveness and we receive it.  We pray that you would cause your church across this nation to enter into intentional and sustained repentance and prayer, for the healing of our land, trusting in your promise “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.

 

We pray that your church would reflect the characteristics of your kingdom: light, love, righteousness, peace, joy and justice.

 

We praise you for the promise that you,God, will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

 

Today Jesus, we remember your words that “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”  We welcome you Holy Spirit.  We welcome you to bring truth in our country.  We ask you to bring a mighty testimony to Jesus, through your church at this time.

 

Father, you have always intended for your children to act as lights in dark places, to bring love that drives out fear and to love each other deeply for love covers over a multitude of sins.  Lord, help us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Empower us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you day be day.

 

We pray for your kingdom to come more fully here on earth. Rule and reign in our lives.

 

We welcome the Holy Spirit to fill us afresh today, working in and through us, bringing peace and racial reconciliation in our neighborhood, in our nation, and the world, for your glory, forever and ever, In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Gold Avenue Church leadership has been noticing a recurring invitation from the Lord over the past few weeks. He seems to be calling us to be still in a time that is filled with uncertainty.  It’s important to pay attention to verses, songs, and themes that continue to come up in prayer and conversations. Often the Lord will speak to us through these consistent pieces and then it is important to ask the Lord to show us how He would have us respond. 

 

Watch this video from Pastor Gina where she shares about how to quiet yourself in God’s presence, as she reflects on Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”

 

 

We pray you will be intentional in letting go of things that interfere with being quiet and still before the Lord. We trust we will all be strengthened and refreshed in His presence.  Enjoy listening to the song “Be Still” by Hillsong Worship.

 

 

An Excerpt on Justice from the Confession of Belhar 

Friends, you are invited to take some time to read and reflect on each confessional point today.  Perhaps read them aloud as a prayer of declaration to the Lord and ask Him to use your life, your gifts, time and treasure to serve as an agent of Kingdom justice.    

  1. We believe
  • that God has revealed himself as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people;
  • that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged; 3
  • that God calls the church to follow him in this, for God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry;
  • that God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind;
  • that God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps orphans and widows and blocks the path of the ungodly;
  • that for God pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering;
  • that God wishes to teach the church to do what is good and to seek the right (Deut. 32:4; Luke 2:14; John 14:27; Eph. 2:14; Isa. 1:16-17; James 1:27; James 5:1-6; Luke 1:46-55; Luke 6:20-26; Luke 7:22; Luke 16:19-31; Ps. 146; Luke 4:16-19; Rom. 6:13-18; Amos 5);
  • that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream;
  • that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.

Therefore, we reject any ideology

  • which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.

Synod 2017 adopted the Belhar Confession as a contemporary testimony for the Christian Reformed Church.  It is a beautiful statement of unity in Christ and His Kingdom. To read the entire document click this link.

Please take the time to watch this video update from Pastor Jaleesa and Brendan Stanford. Brendan is deploying with the United States Army later this week for the next year. In this short video they share some of what this next year holds and ways you can pray for them in this time. We are grateful for his service!

This Prayer Guide Resource is a live document we would like to invite you to utilize. Anything you write is anonymous, unless you give your name. There is no prayer out of line. Shorter, longer, your choice. Share what you want to share. Gold Avenue Church Care Elders and staff are committed to praying for you! We also invite you to pray for one another. If you need someone to talk to, remember that we are available to walk together on this journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone.

On March 13, 2020 President Donald Trump called for a National Day of Prayer. “It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer,” the President tweeted. “We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these…No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith.”

We’ve produced a resource to guide your prayers, and it is useful for ongoing prayer and reflection, so please use it even after this day of prayer is over. Every day is a day of prayer and we, our nation, and our world needs prayer more than ever!

National Day of Prayer Resource