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DAY 1 – Together in Prayer – Bethel Week of Prayer

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Day 1: Together in Prayer

What are we doing when we come together in prayer? The modern mind might think prayer is nothing more than time for silent meditation. Or an immature believer might suggest prayer is how we get God to give us the good life. But Jesus spent hours in prayer talking with his Father, and his life didn’t go the way we often wish ours would. Prayer is more than just the access key to heaven’s treasures; it’s the pathway to a steady and maturing heart.

This is why Peter’s command cuts so sharply when he essentially says, cast all your anxieties on your caring God! When Peter wrote this, the word he used, cast, had connotations of throwing stones, discarding garbage, or speaking a prayer. I like that triplet. That throwing up prayers might be lumped together with throwing stones and throwing out the trash. Sometimes I find I have anxieties that I know are like stones or bricks, that just weigh me down, and Peter’s encouragement to me is to throw it at God and let him work with it. And sometimes I know I have prayers that deal with the garbage in my life…things I let get to me and torment me, some toxic ways of thinking, and my insecurities. He encourages me to put it in God’s recycling bin.

Prayer is this activity that we engage God with our stuff—our thoughts, desires, dreams, praise, and problems. This is the thought behind Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you” (ESV). The burdens we face can be handled by our God! God can take what you feel you cannot take, and do what you feel you cannot do, and heal where you feel you cannot be healed, and live the way you do not feel you can live. Between the gap of hope and reality is prayer.

We ought to notice that Peter is not speaking to individuals; he’s speaking to the community of faith. It’s almost as if the coming of Jesus, the creation of the church, and the indwelling of the Spirit in the lives of the believers change the way we are to pray. Jesus modeled individual prayer of course, but now, more than ever, in the rest of the New Testament we see his followers praying together. And this is Peter’s point: all of you, cast your complete collective anxieties on the Lord!

Together we have a lot of anxieties. But often, our prayers don’t match the proportion of our pain. Our prayers can be small. We get this picture from Peter that God’s waiting to receive from us the totality of our anxieties and burdens, but often we just send him a little squiggle of a prayer. I think you would agree, life is too short to pray small prayers. I dont mean length of prayer; I mean potency of prayer. Powerful prayers. Prayers that recognize the kingdom of God are more than just me. Peter has encouraged the Christians dispersed throughout the world and has said to them, put every care of your life and the lives of those around you on the desk of the Lord and let him manage them. Cast all your anxieties on the Lord.

This week—today even—is an opportunity for a great unburdening in our church. Our prayer as pastors and staff is that as we join together in prayer this week, we would come alive to the majesty of our God, see his glory and his power, allow him to reframe our hearts and heal our wounds, and bring about true and lasting peace. Would you join us in this prayer? Today, as we spend time talking to the Lord, let’s trust him with everything.

  • Pray for Bethel Small Groups. Pray that members would together cast their anxieties on the Lord and find deep unity. Pray for Pastor Chris Whetstone as he shepherds the groups.
  • Pray for the City Life Center as they strive to develop thriving families that create a thriving community.
  • Pray for the people of Northwest Indiana that God would use Bethel as a witness to show how much he cares for his people.
  • Pray for missions partners, Jim and Karen Getz (Navigators, Michigan State University). Pray for their efforts to equip team members to grow in heart, vision, and ministry skills.
  • Pray for the Chinese community of Northwest Indiana. May the Lord touch their hearts and make them hungry for the gospel, and pray for Pastor Tim Chen as he shares the love of Christ in the Mandarin language.
  • Give praise and thanksgiving for the developing Spanish Ministry and pray for God’s blessing upon their upcoming events.
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