Aimlessly drifting… unfocused… like a sailboat on a windless lake… Not sure where I was headed and worse, not sure I cared. This was how I had been feeling for the past couple of months and it was very uncharacteristic of me. Prayer had changed from a delight to merely a discipline and my weariness was tempting me to withdraw altogether from the comforting fellowship of the saints. For the most part I blamed my condition on my constant battle with pain since my knee injury and surgery over 4 months ago and the ongoing complications. I was tired of the whole thing and growing more discouraged every day. But after some conversations with other sisters in our church who were feeling the same way I began to wonder if this was more than just human reaction to our natural circumstances or if something supernatural was at work as well.
One morning during my prayer time a very specific word came to mind when I sought the Lord as to what was possibly going on in our church; the word was malaise. When I looked up the specific meaning of malaise in the dictionary it was: 1) a condition of general bodily weakness, often marking the onset of a disease 2) unhealthy or disordered condition or 3) feeling of uneasiness or discontent. Yes, I was definitely feeling both physically and spiritually weak and out of order, but was our Body of Christ as well? I knew I needed to pray more about this.
A couple of days later I was reading in our recent small group book, “God’s Armor Bearer” by Terry Nance, and an excerpt really stood out to me. The author was talking about the importance and power of unity and prayer in the Body of Christ and referencing a time in the book of Acts when God poured out His Holy Spirit on the Gentiles, beginning with a centurion named Cornelius, his family and friends. This was around 10 years after He poured out His Spirit in the same way on the Jewish believers on the day of Pentecost. In the early days of the Church the believers were united in prayer, being of one heart and soul. But when God surprised them by filling even the Gentiles with His Spirit and openly extending salvation to all, many of the believers in Judea had great difficulty with this and openly criticized the apostle Peter for fellowshipping with and accepting the Gentiles as brothers in the faith. This caused dissension in the church and affected their prayer and unity. Nance then points out that at about this same time Herod had some Christians arrested and had the apostle James put to death. Could it be that contention had replaced prayer, that there was fighting within the Kingdom instead of for the Kingdom, and this had left a wide door open for the Enemy to be at work? When Herod had Peter arrested soon after this the church immediately came together and fervently prayed, and you can bet the subject of Gentile conversion and circumcision never came up! And as a result an angel was sent to miraculously free the apostle.
As I pondered this my spirit immediately knew that we as a church body needed a better defense against the Enemy, for whatever his tactics, and our best defense was unity in prayer. Then another word was placed upon my heart: fissure. The definition of fissure is a narrow opening produced by a separation of parts; or a splitting apart or break. Had we somehow provided an opening for the Enemy, no matter how narrow or small, by allowing a separation or break in our fellowship with the Lord or with each other? Perhaps in our homes or marriages? And how did it come about? Through complaining? Apathy? I certainly don’t have all the answers but I’m still praying about this word and I would encourage all of you to do the same. Nevertheless, I felt a strong urgency in my heart to help our Body be a praying church, focused and united not only in covering The Legacy Church and its needs, but also our city, country, and the Body of Christ throughout America and the world.
I know that most of the precious souls at our church have a desire to pray but sometimes it’s so difficult to know what to pray for and stay focused. So I felt impressed to simply make an outline of different subjects that we can all pray about, helping us be united in soul and spirit and creating a wall of defense against the Enemy. Please don’t be overwhelmed by the length of the outline; it is not meant to be prayed all in one day! Perhaps just take one category a day and pray about that, or a small part in the morning or at lunch. And remember to add your own family’s needs as well. I truly believe that as we come together with the desire and discipline to pray the fissures will close and the malaise on our hearts and the Body will lift. Thank you so much for caring enough to read this and join together with your brothers and sisters in the faith. May the Holy Spirit direct, inspire, and impassion your prayers!
Written By SueJae Bertolero