I was reading Proverbs yesterday morning when a familiar verse caught my attention again. “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength.” (Proverbs 24: 10) We are a month into a new year and 2016 will bring all sorts of opportunities and challenges for each of us. If we want to be ready to meet the things coming our way, we need to build spiritual strength (muscle).
I go to the gym several times a week to lift weights. I told my lifting partner the other day, “I really don’t enjoy this at all…however, I know the benefits that building strength has on our long term health.”
Thinking about building spiritual muscle caused me to reflect on something Ignite did for the second year in a row: 30 Days of Prayer. This emphasis is critical to the overall health and vitality of Ignite. For 30 days, a group of us gathered to pray for church planting, for different people groups in Chicagoland and for the city of Chicago. We lifted up our new church plants, prayed for more planters and asked God to open our eyes to new ways of starting more churches to reach the diverse populations in the region. Each day we completed our prayer time together, I felt stronger and more focused. I know that this time was vital for Ignite as we sought the Father’s heart and listened for his voice. (We also saw several specific answers to prayers that we prayed, which was wonderful to witness.)
These 30 days prepared us to face challenges and to have the strength to endure forward as we “accelerate Jesus’ mission across Chicagoland by starting churches”. We don’t want to “falter in times of trouble”, no, we want to push through challenges coming our way. For this to be true, we need strength. Building spiritual muscle does not happen by chance, but is a byproduct of time, effort and focus. Prayer builds strength and reliance on the Father and it was the right way to start the year. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for Ignite in 2016.
(BTW: Stay tuned for our weekly “Power Up By Praying” prayer call beginning March 2 at 12 pm CDT. Check http://www.ignitechurchplanting.com for more information.)