In the Spring of 2021, I had the privilege of spiritually directing an event for women at my church. What I didn’t realize is that God wanted to teach me about the new things he is doing and wants for his children. I am excited to share a few things I discovered when gathering people in this new era.
Prayer Matters. And of course I pray. I always pray before events. But what God was stressing to me is that the pre-activities matter. In a quiet moment the Lord said, “Gathering people to pray for this event, is more important than the event.” Really? I didn’t quite understand that in that moment, but as I pressed into it, it became more clear. Part of this strategy is to invite the Holy Spirit into this process and therefore into the event. I began to realize that it doesn’t matter what we do if the Lord is not present. Without His presence it feels like a clanging symbol. If HE is not directing it, we may have good things to say but it won’t have the impact of the Spirit moving through our surrender…doing things I could never do with my words. And God knew my desire wasn’t just to create a good event. But instead, I wanted the Lord to show up, to make himself known.
Prayer Unifies. The second thing I realized was inviting others to pray over the event brings the church together. It may be a women’s event, but we need our leaders, our men, our family to join us in a unified voice. As I began to ask others outside my small group to pray, I found they were excited to be included. We organized a specific time to pray together, and we were deeply encouraged when we came together. It was such a rich opportunity to hear others’ heart for the Lord, and the depth of their love for Jesus. Sweetly, God kept nudging us to take the focus off us as individuals and redirect it to Him and the community we were building around us. I also underestimated the effect of these prayers over those preparing for the event. They were so thankful to have specific prayer covering of them. I believe it reminded them that their part mattered, that they were participating in something that was bigger than themselves.
Connection is Imperative. Today’s disciple is not seeking more information. What we are seeking is an encounter with a great big God. We know Jesus, but our soul craves to experience an intimate relationship with Him. Again, that is why it is imperative the Holy Spirit is present and directing our time. Knowing this, we focused on creating connections with the attendees. We spoke on a couple of topics to guide them into a deeper relationship with the Lord, but then created space for them to process and practice as a group. As they connected, they naturally began to minister to each other. It was beautiful to see. God began working and breaking out all over the room. It was such a sweet reminder that the Holy Spirit is a unifying force, bringing people together in deep ways.
I don’t know what you may be planning for your people, but I want to encourage you to ask the Lord what he is trying to accomplish. What is the new thing he wants to show you? How do you unify those attending, how do you make room for God to do what only he can do? I believe surrendered prayer should be your highest priority. Gather your people and pray for God to move, then watch as they experience a loving and gracious God.