Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
David and I have volunteered to organize the prayer time before each Sunday morning service. So far, for the most part, he and I have been the only ones praying. We belong to a small church, which meets in a local school gymnasium, and the people who have the time to come 45 minutes early are generally setting up sound equipment, organizing childcare, unfolding chairs, mounting the cloths on the communion table—well, you get the idea. We have lots of young couples in our church with small children and David and I well remember what it was like getting everyone ready on Sunday morning. (A lot of work!)
So, David and I have prayed together (in the teacher’s lounge) for months—mostly just the two of us. We are at the stage in life where this is no longer a boring task, and we also love to have time to pray together. We feel that this work is as crucial as everything that is mentioned above. We are also grateful when, from time to time, someone else joins us.
However, because we believe that the work of prayer is the work of the whole church, I began to organize a schedule in which types of prayer could be highlighted for 15 minutes each Sunday morning, then we would spend the next 20 minutes in intercession for the worship, the people, the children’s programs, our members, and the school and neighborhood in which we serve.
February 26: Who feels strongly about prayer stations during Eucharist? Would you like to be on prayer teams? Have you had a journey into healing prayer? Are you someone who finds yourself praying for the world and the people in it (you may have the gift of intercession.) Can we set up prayer teams? Let’s respond to last Sunday’s challenge to pray for miracles.
March 6: Who feels strongly about a burden, or a need, or a personal crisis? Let’s make a list of our prayer concerns, date them, and see if a praying community (two or three gathered together) has better results than people just praying alone? What have you learned about making requests of God? Of course, we will pray about these concerns.
March 11: What do you know about prayers of confession? Since Lent is a time for self-examination, repentance and confession, let’s make sure we are building this spiritual practice into our journey. So what do you know? What has happened when you have confessed and repented? What does Scripture teach us?
March 18: What do you know about journaling your prayers? There are probably as many different ways of prayer journaling as there are people. What has worked for you?
Bring a journal and share this with those of us who get started and stop, who want to begin but don’t know how.
Let’s gather together in the teacher’s lounge and delight in the many different ways different people keep a record of their daily (weekly? monthly? yearly?) prayers.
March 25: What kind of prayer reminders have you discovered help you to develop and keep the habit of prayer? Rubber bands on your wrist? Coins in the pocket? A daily prayer guide? If something is working for you, let the rest of us know.
Let’s gather together in the teacher’s lounge for a show-and-tell of practical helps.
April 1: Have you developed an attitude of gratitude? Studies show that grateful people are actually physically and emotionally more healthy than ungrateful people. So let’s go at this spiritual practice! Do any of you keep a gratitude journal? How has this worked and what has it done for you?
Let’s gather together in the teacher’s lounge for an initial plunge into healthy spiritual practice.
April 8: How do you define worship prayer? And how is this different from Thanksgiving? What helps you know when you are really worshipping? Is it just an emotional feeling or is it something all together different than that?
Help! Today is Easter—an ultimate day of worship on the church calendar—let’s make sure our hearts are ready for worship. What do you know about worship that the rest of us need to know?
April 15: Who among us has fasted spiritually and with success? How long have you fasted? What did you learn? What if someone has health problems? How can they fast?
This one is hard.
April 22: Who has had prayers answered? Let’s look at the prayer request list we have
been gathering and see what God has done for us as a people of faith over the last nine weeks.
One of the elders of the church joined us this Sunday, and we were glad to have her. Seeing the handwriting on the wall—that I was going to have to take the initiative—I began asking people who I believe have the gifts of discernment and compassion if they would join us on our prayer teams.
Last Sunday morning early after a busy, busy week, I finally pulled a small whiteboard, the wreath stand I use by the front door during seasonal changes and found a nearly dried-up marker and made a sign. Most of the 100 or so people who come on Sunday mornings don’t even know where the teacher’s lounge is. My sign read:
PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
PRAYER WORK AHEAD
Join us in the Teacher’s Lounge
I drew a primitive arrow, filled it in with the evaporating felt marker as much as I was able, that hopefully, this scratchy sign conveyed the teacher’s lounge was down the hall.
However, as we were driving to the school, I kept hearing that little word nudging me: If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. So I left the makeshift sign and the stand I had pulled out of the dirt by the front walk and washed hurriedly with a dish cloth. No, no, no—God’s work is always orderly, deliberate and planned. If it wasn’t ready because I wasn’t ready, then the timing for this announcement and this scheme wasn’t right either.
The sign is still in the back of my car—I’ll pull it out this morning—but it keeps greeting me with the warning: Proceed with caution! Proceed with caution!
Gentle reminder from God?—probably.
I’m paying attention.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at email@example.com and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, "Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains." In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.