On New Years Eve day and I began reading “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis. Two people that I greatly respect gave me copies for Christmas. I am eager to see what secrets unfold as I consider the teachings of a 13th century monk.
Surprisingly, I immediately see a parallel between his life in a monastery and mine in a Prayer Center. Of course, there are major and obvious differences. But I am encouraged by these words; “One who knows little but is contrite and humble of heart, is more pleasing to God than a great philosopher who may be proud and self centered. The greatest wisdom lies in aspiring to gain the kingdom of heaven. All the rest is vanity.”
In general, prayer is a private endeavor. It is a beautiful opportunity to pour our hearts out in honesty before our maker and to be received in love and forgiveness. But at times prayer can be hard. Consider the 3 apostles with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion. They desired to stay with Jesus and pray as he had asked, but three times they fell asleep. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Said Jesus. It reminds me of my own weakness. How many times have I fallen asleep praying when I didn’t intend to? Haven’t we all?
But I have found support and encouragement for my prayer life at The Great Southwest Prayer Center. When I meet with my team to worship and pray together for healing each week, we encounter God. He leads us, guides us and unifies us as we sing and pray together. Moreover, He unites all who are in attendance somehow. Although we may not know each other personally we have, for a moment, agreed in prayer, felt the unity in the room and the power of God moving somehow. Even as He touches individual hearts and whispers secret things in the ear of a worshipper, He also creates unity in the body of Christ. It is a unique experience that I have come to treasure every week.
So, much like Thomas a Kempis who privately pursed God with the support of his fellow monks, we privately pursue God with the support of the Prayer Center. Meeting together encourages and strengthens our faith to pursue God and engage with Him in a treacherous world. The Prayer Center is a safe pace to pour my heart out to God and be encouraged.
As you pursue a deeper prayer life, be encouraged. You do not stand alone. We stand with you. Come visit The Great Southwest Prayer Center and be strengthened. Come for 10 minutes or two hours. But come.
Visit www.thegreatsouthwestprayercenter.org for a listing of live worship and prayer schedules.