On Wednesday Night, four friends from Emmaus Way and I joined Antioch Baptist Church in a prayer gathering - truly a prayer march. Antioch is a primarily African-American church in Northeast Central Durham - one of Durham's most underserved communities. A group of around 50 disciples (that is the best definition I can think of for the adults, youth, and children who comprise Antioch's prayer ministry) gathered on a small lot just North of Antioch's building to pray. Over the next hour, we moved around their building to pray on each point of the compass. This movement of prayer gave us a wider perspective on the neighborhood, offered opportunity to collect a few passers-by into our circle, and gave us a sense of the infinite trajectories of God's mercy and purposes.
Our community at Emmaus Way has been invited for the past month to join Antioch in a special season of prayer. Rev. Michael Page had just formed six prayer cells to help Antioch discern their place in God's will for their community. Our invitation came on the heels of a lunch where Michael and I discussed the future possibilities of our ministry partnership. We have many future activities planned with Antioch — gleaning, a Christmas Day dinner for the neighborhood, and a summer math/science camp for local middle schoolers. But this collaboration certainly has meant the most to me.
Antioch has asked that we take time to join with them in listening to God. Listening for opportunities, responsibilities, and the gentle words of "I love you" from God. I confess that I'm much better in building networks, forming strategies, and making plans a reality than often listening to God beforehand. A valuable lesson taught and learned once again.
The passion of the prayers that we have joined this past month are another reminder that we live sustained by God and clinging to God's grace. Two huge hurricanes and tsunami should reinforce that lesson. But I forget it - daily.