I was privileged to join other Hope Valley members last Friday evening at a local Indian restaurant to hear Leena Lavanya share some stories about her amazing ministry in her home country of India. Through the ministry she has developed, ServeTrust, she and others are focused on reaching out to and caring for the marginalized people of India. Some of you have had the chance to hear Leena when she has spoken at Hope Valley in years past, and I am always inspired by the remarkable things God is doing through Leena and that ministry. Among the many life-changing areas of work, Leena and her partners care for people with leprosy and HIV, provide job training to help women escape commercial sex trafficking, organize schools to educate children in poor communities, and provide numerous other ministries to show compassion and love to people in need. If you would like to know more about Leena’s work, you can read more at www.servetrust.org.
Whenever I hear Leena speak, I am amazed by the energy level she must possess and by her willingness to be an instrument of God’s work. I feel tired just trying to imagine the schedule she keeps and all the ways she invests her time and care in other people, but as I listened to her talk last week, I was reminded that one of the keys to her ministry is her commitment to and belief in the power of prayer. As she told stories of seeing God heal and transform people in response to the prayers of believers, she repeated over and over again that these things happen because of the power of prayer. It struck me that she believes in and practices prayer with a level of commitment too often lacking in many of our lives and in many churches these days.
Inspired by her example, I want to invite us as a congregation to make a commitment to daily prayer for our church during the upcoming summer season. Like many churches these days, we face challenges and struggles. These are difficult days to be a church, but God does not leave us helpless or powerless. There are numerous Scriptures that show Jesus pulling away from the crowds to spend time in prayer, and the early church in Acts was obviously committed to prayer. During my sermon on Sunday, May 27, I will invite you all to join me in a 100 Day of Prayer emphasis that will include a devotional guide. Coinciding with the summer season, the guide will include a daily Scripture pas-sage to read and some suggestions for how to pray for the church that day. While there are no magic words or practices that lead to church health and growth, I am convinced that God responds when God’s people commit themselves to prayer. I will share more in the weeks to come, but I hope we can make this summer a true season of prayer.
As we pray, let us be filled with hope in the promise of God. In John 14:12-14, we find this promise from Jesus: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”