Sunday, November 16, 2003

I'm up praying for U-turn and wondering how the candlelight devo went (the entire retreat for that matter) and find myself in "other's shoes" again. Let me explain.

U-turn is the name of the student ministry at Redwood Church. Kim and I served as youth ministers from June 95 until Aug 03. Every fall we would take the students on a retreat. From the time we arrived in RWC (Redwood City) we put a high value on prayer. Several weeks prior to the retreat we would pass out a prayer cover sign-up sheet and give people an opportunity to pray for the students and staff. Every hour would get covered in prayer. Sometimes (as you can imagine) the wee hours of the night and morning (2am - 5am) would be difficult to cover. I remember calling friends in Texas to pray for the slots that were hardest to fill and they could do it because of the time change without as much sacrifice.

For eight years I was on the receiving end of those prayers. This weekend I switched sides.

I always prayed while leading those retreats (I'm sure Kim prayed more) but my mind was also so full with the details, drama, and divine activity that each retreat brought. Unless a problem arose I was usually in bed by 2am on Friday and Saturday night. But someone was praying for us as I was sleeping. Kinda like the "night watch" system of fire prevention in London many years ago. Someone stayed up and provided protection.

I always appreciated it but this weekend I just see the role of the "prayer warrior" from a different angle.

The work of prayer is not tough stuff in theory but it is brutal in practice because the enemy is so opposed to it.

I am reminded of Jesus asking his disciples to "watch and pray" and remembering even they fell asleep and let their flesh rule.

I am also more grateful than ever for the "warriors" who covered our retreats in prayer the past eight years (nine counting this one) especially the ones who prayed in the "wee hours"

God I ask that you take every spiritual, right, and memorable experience these students had "up on the mountain" and you use it as fuel for their days "down in the valley" I ask you to help them to release they don't have to wait for another retreat to have such an experience either. I pray that they could see that if they would just get away from the noise and make time for you to work they would feel you move in ways big and in ways small.

Christ fan into flame their faith and may they come ignite a generation of lost in their schools and in their homes.

I pray that the retreat was a time where students headed in the wrong way (away from you) could make a U-turn into your loving, forgiving, and life changing arms.

I don't know all the details of how the retreat has gone. I do know this. God is faithful and I am confident that he moved in a powerful way in the hearts of many up there in those Redwood trees.

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