I am still basking in the afterglow of our first Harvest Home Prayer Meeting at Pat Story's house this evening. Here is what I learned...
1. I am continually amazed with how some good food and excellent hospitality draw God's people closer together. After our time of prayer tonight, we enjoyed some excellent brownies that Pat had prepared along with ice cream and a fantastic array of toppings (caramel, chocolate fudge, nuts, etc.). It did not take long for laughter to begin pouring like a refreshing rain and I begin thinking how blessed I was to know Pat, Pam, Carolyn, W.L., Cindy and Chad. Pat's willingness to open her home provided the wonderful environment for blessing to be received and given. I am sure that Christians do not practice this enough.
2. The early church prayed for boldness in the face of persecution. Instead of packing up and going home, the church (see Acts 3-4) asked God to fill them with boldness in proclaiming the good news of Jesus. God's response...the place where they prayed was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
3. The "fears" we tend to have that keep us from sharing the Gospel are internal and not from external threats. The early church along with many Christians all over the world face real threat form sharing the Gospel with others. We gathered in freedom tonight. It was Pam that declared that Christians in places like Moldova and the Congo would flock to a home for prayer even though the cost might be great. Our gathering was "quaint" in size but mighty in spirit. I pray our desire as a congregation to pray and fellowship and gather will go beyond the usual "appointed" times. How interesting to see that Scripture and church history teach us that boldness in witness often grows in times of persecution and not comfort.
4. What a blessing to pray with men and women that are deeply concerned over the spiritual lives of their family and coworkers. It is blessing and humility to be in the presence of Jesus followers shedding tears over people they love being far from God. May I shed more tears over those that are far from God and outside His grace.
5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for men that will pray. In a day when we have a real "manhood" problem, it is such a blessing to walk with men unashamed to pray...to confess their fears in being a witness for Christ...who humbly ask God to give them courage to witness for their savior...who ask God to change the hearts of people they care about that are not Christians. Wow! What a privilege to be with such men that make me stronger and serve as wonderful examples to my sons.
6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for women that will pray. In a day when women put more confidence in Oprah than in Christ, it is a privilege to hear woman boldly go before the throne of grace and ask Him to change their hearts and the hearts of those they love. I thank God that my wife and my daughters have women such as these to be around.
7. Finally, I learned that it was awesome to be at Pat's house tongight and I can not wait to be at W.L. and Cindy's next Monday evening for our second Harvest Home Prayer Meeting.