As a follower of Jesus, I look to Scripture often to see how Jesus responded to the many things that came his way in ministry. We see him consistently demonstrate wisdom, compassion, conviction, and a desire to draw those he encounters closer to him.
It doesn’t matter if he meets them on the street, out in the wilderness, or within the walls of a synagogue—he is always compassionate, wise, seeking justice, and moving people deeper into the vast love of the kingdom of God. Who wouldn’t want that?
How is Jesus, both the son of God and the Son of Man, able to do these things? Jesus himself provides the answer: through prayer. Both remarkably simple and deeply profound, prayer roots and propels us. Being connected to the Triune God through prayer is how Jesus was able to move, live, and breathe in the kingdom of God, and we are invited into this same rhythm. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus prays. He prays before choosing his disciples, he prays before he speaks, he prays for the healing of God’s people, and he prays for God’s will to be done, even when it costs him his life.
Historically the Evangelical Covenant Church has also rooted itself in deep seasons of prayer. Each of our mission priorities highlights prayer throughout the year. By heightening our awareness of areas that need special prayer—whether it be our global partners who are responding to a natural disaster or a special season of ministry focused on the care and nurture of making disciples, we want to surround all that we do in prayer, so that like Jesus, we engage with wisdom, compassion, and conviction as we seek to move ourselves and those around us closer to him.
“This is a collective and collaborative work, and we are called to do it together.”
I believe we are in a season where prayer is our most critical need as we move forward in mission together. We need space to listen deeply to God and to one another. We need to place the deep tensions of the past few years at the foot of the cross. We recognize the spectrum of conviction held by our brothers and sisters throughout the Covenant, and we recognize that we must seek Jesus for healing the pain that is at our core.
When we look at the cross, we see both vertical and horizontal connections. We have a relationship vertically through Jesus to God, and a relationship with the whole spectrum of the body of believers through the horizontal axis. Our connection to God and to one another meets at the intersection of Jesus. No matter the starting point, as we move toward Jesus, we draw nearer to God and to one another.
It is my intention to be deeply in prayer alongside of you. As your new president, I want to lead our church in a way that honors this core value and Jesus’s model for us. I need your prayers. I need you to pray with me for this beloved Covenant community, even as you pray for me. This is a collective and collaborative work, and we are called to do it together. The disciples asked Jesus how to pray, and although the Gospels record variations of the specifics of his teaching, the core is the same: God is holy and desires closeness with us.
The work we do on earth matters and it has eternal impact. Let us ask for enough to keep going, not so much that we rely on own our reserves rather than God, and not so little that the struggle to survive will break us. Let us ask God to help us to forgive when we have been hurt, just as he forgives us. Let us ask for his help so that we might stay focused and not be diverted from the mission at hand, despite the many things that could distract and divide us. May we be willing to say with all of our sisters and brothers, “God, we are desperately dependent on you.”
All glory, honor, power, and kingdom movement belong to God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus.