Thousands of young men and women have descended upon the New Life Church campus from all over the country this week so as to encounter the Lord Jesus at the 2017 Desperation Conference. For three days our Desperation staff and DLA students are hosting these brothers and sisters in Christ, and as always we are witnessing the faithfulness of God as He draws close to those who are seeking Him.
Following the amazing experiences of this week we will clean up, turn around, and then welcome our very own New Life little-ones next week during our annual four day Kids Camp. Here, our kids will “engage in worship, games and activities, mission’s projects, small group discussions,” and they will partake in a number of other fun and exciting kids oriented activities.
Both events are core to the ministry that New Life Church provides for the next generation. However, neither of these events, nor any others that we hold, can be successfully carried out without the amazing service of the New Life Church volunteer team – what we call, our Dream Team. For those of you serving in Section Community or Groups leadership you are a member of this amazing team. Your work and service is vital to all that takes place through these events, others like them, and of course within the relationship-building world you serve in every week.
At the end of the day, Christian ministry is all about honoring God by caring for His sons and daughters, our bothers and sisters, through relational intentionality. Together we become a family, the body of Christ. Therefore, like a physical body, we must be unified in our actions and we must work to the benefit of the other parts of the Body (Romans 12 & 1 Cor. 12). It is called others mindedness – a selfless and personally sacrificial characteristic focused on meeting the needs of others. And by this we render unto our Savior the purest form of our worship.
With this in mind, I want to focus on what I believe to be the greatest element of caring for other people. Certainly being physically present and meeting the tangible needs of others is vital to building a unified and nurturing body. As well, having regular face-to-face communication with others is just as important. However, if we truly care for others, if we truly desire the needs of others to be met, then one thing we must do above all else is to pray for others. We must be people of intercession.
We all know that scripture tells us that faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14-26). There is hardly a greater truth than this within scripture. We have to act upon our faith. We have to love people in practical ways. However, despite the beauty of physical and verbal care, we cannot neglect the gift of intercession – our praying on behalf of others. All three are required to work in unison. However, I would venture to say that prayer is the part of the equation that is most easily neglected.
When a friend is in need it is not difficult to act upon that need, to show up and serve them as their circumstance requires. When a brother or sister needs to talk, we do not easily ignore the lending of our ear. Their very presence holds us to account. However, though we say we will pray, how often do we actually follow through with intentional faith-filled, concentrated intercession? For some this may come naturally, but for many prayer is more easily talked about than practiced.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This means that as much as we can act in the physical world we live in, it is the spiritual world that has the greatest ability to influence our life for the positive or the negative, and it is faith-filled and obedient prayer, that most influences the spiritual world.
Prayer is real, and simply put, if we do not pray for others, we are not fully acting in love toward others. They need our prayer as much as we need theirs. Scripture tells us clearly that the greatest of all biblical attributes is love (1 Cor. 13:13). Love in action is true others mindedness. It is physical service, verbal attentiveness, and the spiritual covering and support through active intercession.
Pastor David Perkins, who served on the New Life pastoral team for a number of years and who helped envision and start the Desperation Conference, and who is now the Senior Pastor for Radiant Church in Kansas City, MO often said during his time at New Life that every prayer matters. This means that any prayer spoken by a Spirit led person in faith will reach the ears of God and it will help influence the world we operate in no matter how or when it is spoken. Consider James 5:16b, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
In short, prayer is vital to the service of others. This week and next we will be physically and verbally caring for thousands of God’s young children. However, if we do not pray for them both now and into the coming weeks, all that was and is said and done, may be for not. We mustn’t allow the enemy room to maneuver.
Please join us in interceding on behalf of these precious others and, further more, make intercession an intentional part of your regular act of service toward the many people you serve in Section Community and in Groups.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
– Ephesians 6:18
Go Deeper – Grow Stronger