Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for your PRAYERS and CONTINUE to pray for us. As I have mentioned, my biggest prayer for this group during this conference and for this year as a whole is that God would bond us together as a family. Well, last night the sermon was on the Church as family….seriously!?
Each night during our debrief we sit in a big, amoeba-shaped circle, hold hands, and one-by-one offer up thanks to God for at least one thing that he has done for us, for our family, for our group as a whole–whatever. And each night, the prayers have become more unguarded, more sincere, and more specific, with prayers the first night ranging from 1-3 words to prayers last night ranging from 1-3 sentences, which is a water-parting-sized miracle for a group of 20 high schoolers. It is also evidence of God’s presence among us, bringing us together, freeing everyone to be vulnerable. [Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! (2 Cor. 3:17)]. Well last night, before our prayers of thanksgiving, I took the opportunity to share with them my heart for the group for the coming year, my hope that FAC would be a place where they could all take a break and find rest from the competition-ism of high school, where performance and acceptance are wed together like cancer and pancreas. I then suggested that we make requests to God, which could be prayers for healing, for help, for a friend or family member, for God to do something in the group as a whole–whatever God was burdening them with.
I. WISH. YOU. COULD. HAVE. BEEN. THERE.
Words can’t capture the experience. Nothing could capture the experience. The circle became a sort of confession-intercession booth, with kids asking God to help them: “stop being a jerk,” “become more accepting,” “be more aware of others’ needs;” for God to: “heal my pain, so I can help others in pain,” “make this group a safe place for everyone,” “help us to notice people who feel lonely…” And on and on it went until it dawned on me that God was answering these prayers by freeing the kids to ask them. The freedom to ask for help and healing and awareness was itself evidence of help and healing and awareness.
…I asked for those who had a special need for prayer to form a nucleus in the center of the amoeba. Eight of the twenty shuffled in. The rest of us gathered around and laid hands on them–we have at this point effectively become a blob. We then prayed for each of them by name, prayed our prayers of thanksgiving, all of which centered on what God was doing then and there. I closed, but we sat there.
Tears. Laughter. Smiles. Hugs. Push-ups (don’t ask). No walls. No barriers. No insecurity. TRUE. CHRISTIAN. FELLOWSHIP. It was truly a high point of the five years I have been involved with this group.
There is much more I’d love to share, but the leader’s meeting (which I obviously have been very attentive in…) is about over. Updates to come. KEEP PRAYING.