- Today, what would you celebrate today about your missional community?
- Today, what would you confess or lament about your missional community?
- Today, what are you hopes for your missional community?
Scripture: Romans 8:26-30
Simple Prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, help us to know it is not our responsibility to do your work for you, rather it is our privilege to have a role to play as you work all things together for good!
Mission that Belongs to God. God has a mission and invites us into it. We affirm that the invitation to follow Jesus is an invitation into God’s mission. Furthermore, we affirm that apart from Jesus, without the Holy Spirit working through us, we can accomplish nothing. God made all things and made them good. But God’s good creation was corrupted and cursed. Right relationship with God, with others, and with all of creation was broken through human sin. We acknowledge that in our own sinfulness, we contribute to the brokenness of the world. But God has acted throughout history redeeming all things. Ultimately, God’s good creation will be restored through God’s redeeming work. (Genesis 1:26-31, Genesis 3, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 28:16-20, The Gospels, Romans 8:28-39, I John 4:7-12, Revelation 21:1-5)
I recall a personal breakthrough. I was always a little reluctant to pray clearly and directly with someone who was sick for healing. What if they were not healed? What if it got worse? I would pray for healing, but would cover my bets, so to speak. For example, I’d pray “God, we know that how you work is beyond our understanding, but if it is your will, please let this person experience your healing touch.” Overtime, I tried to find formulas that would work. I would add phrases into the prayer like “Jesus, the Bible says it is by your stripes we are healed…” (I wasn’t even sure what that meant). I’d try to make it a contract “Jesus, we are asking this in your name…” or “Lord, if two or three of us come together in agreement…” as if, by finding just the right words, I could make God take action. I had a theological problem.
I thought I was somehow responsible for the healing.
I find it easy to slip into that way of thinking. It’s easy for me to start taking responsibility for things that only God can do. Like healing. Like faith taking root in another’s heart. Like forming a community of faith. Like seeing God’s Kingdom come here on earth.
This is not about becoming passive. God invites us into his mission and gives us an important role in it! Every follower of Jesus has a part to play in God’s mission. But our part never involves doing what only God can do. We’re called to trust God, pray, and respond to his lead. We are always called to love the people God puts in our path or puts on our heart, and love takes initiative! But being on mission is less about boldly going forth and more about looking to see where God is at work and joining him there.
We can relax. Because God is at work all around us. God is responsible for the mission. God is responsible for its success or failure! Fear not: God has promised that he is working all things together for good.
Now about praying for healing: when I spent time with a community that trained others for healing ministry, they taught me that healing prayer involved listening, loving, and praying. Listen patiently and gently find out what is hurting. Love them in their place of pain by gently asking them to “tell me more” about it without being afraid. Finally, with full awareness that Jesus is the Great Physician and is restoring all things, simply ask him to heal. Then look to see if Jesus is at work and listen, love, and pray some more.
The mission belongs to God!
Reflection and Practice:
- Do you recall times when you felt great personal pride of personal disappointment at the success or failure for a mission? How did you feel when it succeeded? How did you feel when it failed?
- A community is great for equipping us to practice our faith better. At the same time, community can reinforce bad practices, too. What sort of practices can help us to get better? What sort make it worse?
- Is there any area you are taking responsibility for what only God can do? What needs to happen for you to put that down? Will you be content with the part God gives you to play?
- Is there anything you need to do in response? When and how will you do it?