To see past life’s distractions, pray together
Short people learn to leap over obstacles. Being short all my life (climbing cabinets, projecting my voice and my personality, lifting heavy stuff both literal and figurative), I can attest with Zacchaeus: obstacles are made to be overcome!
In our passage from Luke last week, Zacchaeus was seeking to see Jesus, and once Jesus saw him, the rich man swiftly and joyfully gave up any selfish gain standing in his way (Luke 19:1-10). The real barrier between him and Jesus was not his height…it was the crowd who “looked down on” him. Instead of seeing the miracle of a soul saved, the crowd grumbled. And for the crowd, the real barrier between them and Jesus was their failure to see the man who needed Jesus so much.
Chapel Hill has global partners because they keep us alert to people like Zacchaeus, those who long to see who Jesus is. We see their great faith, and ours increases. We plead for their healing and bring our own wounds to God, too. Every Saturday in the email Bulletin, prayers for our outreach partners help us do that.
What would happen if Chapel Hill intentionally prayed together to overcome the spiritual obstacles keeping us from seeing Jesus… from letting Jesus really look upon us… from seeing others like he does? The truth is that our social lives are very distracting. We get caught up in the crowd… keeping up, climbing up, speaking up… and without even realizing it, we might be pushing others down.
My LifeGroup reunited last week after a summer break, and we found that we needed nearly the whole time to pray for one another. It was such a gift! I think that when we pray together, the Spirit changes us from a distracted society to a restored society. Do you have people to pray with? At home, at work, or at church? It might feel awkward to get started, but I challenge you to overcome your obstacles. Try these three prayers. If any of the global outreach opportunities tug on you, please contact me!
God, we want to see you.
The Holy Spirit loves to answer this prayer! What are the good things about God that we hope others begin to see? What is hidden from our own understanding? Abhishek Gier will be visiting us from India where he leads a ministry to rescue and restore trafficked women and children. It’s a reminder that no place is too dark to ask to see Jesus. It’s also a reminder to examine our own consumer habits because cheap imports can keep other economies down. Meet Abhishek Saturday-Sunday, October 21-22, and help with our Festival of Hope global fair trade market Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3.
God, we want you to see us.
We can bring our grief and our guilt to God. Are we hiding any part of us from Jesus? Is anything we are doing causing hurt or sadness in others? When we take these questions to God together…our tears and confessions, our Father looks at us with love and mercy. Jesus comes into our home and fills it with joy! When the high school team serves alongside our partner Agua Viva in Mexico, they have a profound experience of God’s presence in their own lives. This is the last week to get a spot…register here.
God, we want to see you in each other.
What is keeping your family from noticing others? What if we intentionally discussed what we are learning from others at the dinner table? When our consideration of others’ experiences, wisdom, and needs includes a sense of global family, we are changed for the better. Do you want to learn more about God’s love and purpose for every people group on the planet and God’s call to you to participate in that blessing? We have a nine-week course starting in January called Kairos. Register online and contact me for scholarship info. Those who complete the Kairos course can participate in our 2024 global visit teams, including India!
Part of our own wake-up call from a distracted life is inner contemplation. But God’s promise for revival, starting with Abraham, was to a family, a household, to be a blessing to the world. Let’s trying praying with our family members…just ask to see God together. Take a risk by opening ourselves to be changed by God together…ask God to see us. And leap the limits of our self-focus by focusing on others who seek the Jesus who is already seeking them.
Director of Global Outreach
Cara Taylor leads the Chapel Hill Outreach team. “We exist to support every member living on mission right where you are and growing as part of God’s global family,” she says. “I have lived in many corners of the country (starting in my beloved New York Italian family), and I’ve worked with college students and international development previously. So I LOVE the diversity of God’s kingdom…every age, every language, every status…shouting together, ‘God saves!’ Alongside Judson and our awesome teens Jeremiah and Mercy, I am part of a creative and curious clan. I’d love to meet you and learn something I didn’t know. We can wonder together about your next step and what our just and merciful God may be up to!” Contact Cara here.