May 27, 2020

Dear CrossWay Family,   
                                                                   
One of my favorite persons in the Bible is Samuel. As a boy I loved the story of Samuel as a boy, especially that time when he first heard God speaking to him and, after receiving some wise counsel from Eli, responded by saying, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears” (I Samuel 3). But as I’ve gotten older I have come more to love the character, the actions, and the commitments of the man.

Samuel was, among other things, a man devoted to prayer. I think that is captured powerfully in his words to the people of Israel: “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way” (I Samuel 12:23).

I am deeply aware of what feels to me like the weakness of my prayer life. But I want you to know that I am absolutely committed to praying for you. Every morning, after praying carefully for my family and for the events of the coming day, insofar as I know them, I spend some time praying for you, the people who are CrossWay Community Church. I pray for a wide variety of things, depending on circumstances and on what God is laying on my heart, but it often comes down to this: “Lord, protect them, provide for them, guide them, and surround them with your favor.” I feel both a deep sense of responsibility to do this, and a deep sense of privilege in doing it. And I am not alone. One of the most important things we do as pastors and elders when we meet, perhaps the most important, is pray for you. As pastors and elders we together carry a burden for you and one of the main ways we carry it is by praying.

But we also need your prayers. In fact, my main reason for writing this letter is to ask you for your prayers. Tomorrow evening we will be in very focused discussion and deliberation about the timing and manner of our reopening for our Sunday public worship and for the other gathering points of our church body. I’m sure you are aware of some of the things that are in tension and some of the things we will need to weigh. It could go without saying, but we will need much wisdom. We know from the book of James that God is ready and eager to give wisdom to those who need it but it is no insignificant thing that James tells us to ask. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). We will certainly be asking for that as we gather as elders. We’re asking you to ask with us.

The Psalms are full of reminders that God hears our prayers and that he delights to respond to our prayers.  He is, of course, not obligated by our often misguided requests. But in God’s mysterious ways, our prayers get factored into the working out of his will. So he invites us to pray.  And those prayers have meaning, and God delights in them.

So, will you pray. Pray throughout the day tomorrow. But then, tomorrow evening would you, maybe as a family before the evening meal, maybe on your own, pray for us. And then let’s together expect God’s protection, provision, guidance, and favor on our dear church.

We will be eager to communicate with you the outcome of our thinking. I hope to be able to do some of that, at least briefly, as soon as in this coming Sunday’s video message. But we will give a full update on where we are in next week’s letter.

We are grateful for both your patience with us and for your perseverance through these days. And let me encourage us all to be full of grace toward one another as we move forward. No matter what gets decided there will be members of our church family who disagree with or are disappointed in the decision. So let me encourage us, once again, to fully embrace the instructions of the opening verses of Ephesians 4. We can all move forward together in the confidence that what is talked about there is pleasing to God. In fact, what is found there would be good lines along which to pray.

With much love,

Pastor Mike (for all the pastors and elders)

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