Spiritual Discipline // INTERCESSION
By Chris Bowlby
This week we learned that part of our Pentacostal heritage is to be ecumenical. Lead Pastor Isaac defined Ecumenical as follows:
“Promoting or relating to unity among the world’s Christian Churches.“
It’s easy to see other denominations or simply those that don’t agree with every dot and tittle of our own theology as competition at best or the enemy at worst. We may disagree how they partake of communion, or the day they meet on, or their leadership structure, or the way they do Baptisms, or [Fill in the Blank]. As Isaac said on Sunday, it is much too easy to identify by what we are against, or our differences. We cast aside other groups of Jesus Followers because of doctrinal differences. But what would it be like if we were to celebrate the diversity and unique positioning of other parts of the Body of Christ?
“But, it is Jesus who makes all of us fit together. Every part of the BIG BODY of CHRIST has a special function and role to play. And, as we play our role, we help others to grow. And, the goal is that we are growing into love” –– Isaac Hovet
A few weeks ago we allowed another Christian organization to use our our parking lot. They were the Christian Motorcycle Association. Now, I could have listened from our overhang, with crossed arms, passive aggressively judging every word from the speaker before they headed out for a long ride. I’m sure there are some areas of disagreement doctrinally between us. I could have thought, “We could do this so much better. . .” or “Let’s start our Motorcycle group so that these men would be led by OUR genius – note the sarcasm!” Despite what could have been our differences, there were at least 75 men that showed up, heard the Gospel, felt a sense of Community and likely walked away encouraged in their relationship with the Lord. I’m sure there were people present that wouldn’t walk through our doors for various reasons, yet they felt safe and seen at this event. Praise God!
There are denominations, churches, and ministry organizations that are strategically placed by God to pour out God’s love and grace. We spend lots of time praying for ourselves and New Hope. Now, that’s good! Please don’t stop praying for New Hope! But we also have the opportunity to pray, to practice intercession, for other denominations that are outposts for the Kingdom of God in places God hasn’t given us opportunity. Today, take some time to pray for some other organizations or Churches that are participating with the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Here are a few examples:
- Mt. Angel Abbey is a vibrant and vital part of the Catholic Church. They host dozens of groups a month, renting out their beautiful campus to groups for Spiritual Retreats, planning sessions, and time for personal reflection to individuals and groups across a variety of denominations. Pray that God would pour out His Spirit to all those that would seek him.
- The Hope Pregnancy Center is a local outreach to those that are pregnant, offering a variety of medical and other services. They are vital and important in our community. Pray that God would fill the employees and volunteers with His Spirit and they would have wisdom and discernment to help guide women towards life-affirming choices. We will be participating with a fundraiser soon for them! Stay tuned!
- Church at the Park is a non profit ministry that ministers to the houseless population of Salem. We have partnered with them for our Safe Parking Program. They are continuing to roll that program across Salem as well as trying to seek wisdom for caring for the huge influx of houseless people as an effect of COVID and the Santiam fires. Pray that God would fill them with that wisdom and the perseverance to continue to walk with people through hardship and life changes necessary for them to have stable housing.
- Calvary Chapel (right across Swegle Road) is hosting a Soccer Camp in June. While we have a Sports Ministry and organize Kids Soccer Camps, Calvary Chapel has a relationship with families they have been cultivating for years. Join us in prayer that they would have the opportunity to speak life into families and children and have the opportunity to share the Gospel.
I could go on and on with ideas for prayer. God is doing INCREDIBLE works across his Bride, the Church. Take some time to pray for those outside your tribe that God would use them in their context, to those they have influence with, for the sake of the Kingdom of God!