Today was great! We visited Monasterboice to see some of the most amazing Celtic crosses anywhere. That wasn’t the highlight of the day though. The best part was going to Drogheda to lead a Furnace prayer meeting. It was so amazing! The people here are hungry for a move of God. They long to see the fires of prayer burn bright! What a blessing to get to play a small part of that! We even met in a coffee shop just like back home. Another cool part of our day was meeting with Rachael, a young lady who’s very interested in joining the Furnace Midwest internship in the fall. It’s a long way to come, but totally worth it!
Enjoy the video and pictures!
Vanessa made a new friend
Monasterboice. Ruins of 6th century monastary.
Estate near Monasterboice
The crew in front of a beautiful cross
Kirsty and Shannon, our praise team for the night
Lots of prayers and hugs at the Furnace prayer meeting
Working with a prayer center, the topic of prayer and worship comes up often in a variety of settings and circumstances. I am a massive believer in the power of young people seeking God and singing His praises. It’s my job to help increase the level of prayer across our community.
From time to time, I’ll meet someone in ministry who deliberately leaves out corporate prayer and worship because they believe their students “aren’t ready” to sing songs to The Savior or are afraid newcomers might be “turned off” by extended prayer. There’s an attitude that passionate prayer and worship are extremist expressions of our faith. One might get the impression that worship and prayer were embarrassing things that should be done in private to be followed by a good washing of the hands. It’s no wonder that 80 percent of young people walk away from the faith when they graduate high school. They are, as Manning puts it “young people who have been denied access to their own spiritual depths.”
Last weekend I had the particular honor of speaking at a retreat for Senior High students in our region. I teamed up with my Furnace Midwest worship team and we decided to hold nothing back. We sang praises with passion and prayed with tenacity. It was powerful! What was the response? The students loved it! They dove in and didn’t look back. After dismissing the group (twice) they kept praying for another 45 minutes! One of the youth pastors involved told me that it was the first time he ever saw his kids worship!
The point is this: young people are hungry for an encounter with the living God. They long to connect with God on a heart level that can’t be accomplished through a Bible study alone (and I love the Bible study!) We must provide the next generation with opportunities to worship and pray if more than 4 percent of them are going to make it as adults. As the old saying goes, “He who prays stays, and he who fasts lasts.“
I hear the term “in my life” a lot. We sing praise songs about Jesus being a part of our lives. We ask God to help us with our lives. We want Him in our lives. We say things like “I want more of you in my life.” I was thinking about that yesterday, and something occurred to me…
What about God’s life? I think all the time about Him being a massive part of my life but, could I be a part of His? Maybe that’s what I should be praying, “God, can I be a part of your life? I don’t want You to be someone that I just drag along with me as I journey towards eternity. I want to accompany you on Your journey.”
My desire is to go where He goes and do what He does. I’m happy to be His second fiddle any day. I’ll be His Tonto, His Chewbacca, His Bucky, or His Robin any day if it means I get to hang out with Him and be a part of His life.
“What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.” – Psalm 84:4
A few weeks ago, I was talking with a young guy who occasionally attends our Friday night prayer meeting. There’s something about the kid that’s a mystery to me. I don’t know where his church home is, he walks to prayer even in bad weather, and he always has plenty to philosophize about. I’ve never seen him with any friends, he’s a bit socially awkward, and I gathered from talking to him that his parents are no longer together. It’s not unusual for him to look like he just rolled out of bed and came in the clothes he wore the day before. Brennan Manning would describe him as a genuine ragamuffin.
When I asked this young man how he was doing, his answer really penetrated me, “Jesus has been especially loving to me.” Pause. Jesus has been especially loving to me? Without a car, money, or friends and Jesus has been especially loving? Shame on me. How many times have I questioned His love while enjoying so much more? How many times have I felt distant from the savior because of self-pity and ingratitude?
The last time I saw this guy, he was worshiping his heart out. It put a huge smile on my face to watch him dance, shout, clap, and run around the room in celebration of his especially loving savior. Some might say he’s in his own little world, but it’s a world I wouldn’t mind living in to experience an especially loving Jesus.
Every Friday night I have the privilege of leading a community-wide prayer meeting for young adults. It’s the highlight of my week to watch young people praise and cry out to God for their city!
Last night I decided to snap a few pictures to share. Enjoy!