LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.
Years ago, I was challenged by a simple question regarding prayer, “Is there grass on your path?”
I thought about that question as I was reflecting on the recent reports from Asbury University of an Awakening which began during a chapel worship service. For two weeks the campus experienced an outpouring of worship which was marked by spontaneity, confession, deep prayer, and a strong sense of the presence of God. It was reminiscent of an earlier Asbury campus revival in the 1970s which was part of the Jesus Revolution movement. People traveled from across the country and from other countries to gather at the campus to experience this time of renewal. In response to the movement at Asbury several other college campuses began to hold their own prayer services.
While the services on campus came to an end this past week, the services have been moved to other offsite locations. What will happen now? Time will tell if this is a lasting and impactful Awakening or not. But whether you are a supporter or questioner one thing cannot be diminished. When God’s people call out to him in genuine prayer, he is ready to respond.
Which brings me back to the question, “Is there grass on your path?” The question came to me as I was reading an account of an area in Africa where the early converts to Christianity were highly committed to cultivating the discipline of daily prayer. Each believer had their own special place of prayer outside of the village where they were able to walk their path to a place of solitude for their time of focused prayer. Each day as they walked their footpaths created in the bush, they eventually wore a path that became a clear trail. When grass began to grow back onto their trail another believer in the community would lovingly encourage them by saying, “Friend, there’s grass on your path!”
Regardless of your thoughts about the events which have and continue to occur as part of the Asbury Awakening, we cannot escape the reality of God’s call to his people to pray. The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We are told by Paul in I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing…”. First Thessalonians was written to a group of believers who were part of the new believers reached during Paul’s journey through Thessalonica. While the efforts resulted in reaching some with the Gospel it also created an uproar in the city which resulted in Paul being asked to leave by the cover of nightfall. The group of new believers continued to grow but experienced challenges which Paul sought to assuage in his letters to them. Near the end of his first letter, he records in chapter 5:16-19, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
All of us know what it’s like to let grass grow on our path of prayer. We intend to stay faithful in prayer but the challenges of life and the struggles in our own hearts can cause us to wane in our life of prayer. When we read Paul’s words to “pray without ceasing” it may seem overwhelming, but Paul is talking about an attitude of prayer that springs from a heart hungry to know God.
We are called to practice daily prayer, to hunger to see God’s will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. May we be willing to allow God to bring a personal Awakening to each of our hearts as we seek to know him more and love him with all our heart, our soul, and our mind.
In Kingdom service,
Executive Director ~ AMS
Praying for You and Your Church
Be assured that every minister and church in the TEBA are prayed for by name on a regular basis. We are mindful of the daily challenge of ministering to your communities while taking care of the needs of your church families.