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Praying in the Sunny Outdoors

September 1, 2021

A group of Christian Reformed Church in North America employees stepped out of the CRCNA’s denominational building in Grand Rapids, Mich., just after 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

On a day featuring comfortable weather and a welcome breeze, they gathered in a circle between the parking lot and a stand of pine trees to pray.

In an invitation to the prayer event, Zach King, director of Resonate Global Mission and leader of the half-hour gathering, wrote: “We would like to start off our fall season seeking God’s guidance and blessing on the CRC and its ministries.”

Holding CRC hymnals, participants began by singing “In Christ Alone.” In honor to God and the love he holds for his people, they sang: “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me; from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no human plan, can ever pluck me from his hand. . . .”

Currently, a few people have returned to their offices in the CRCNA denominational building. And a portion, maybe 20 people, took part in the prayer gathering.

As vehicles rushed by on nearby 28th Street and the denominational building’s HVAC compressor gave off a muted roar, King then began the prayer.

“Lord, hear our prayer. We ask you, Lord, to listen to our vocal prayer,” he said. “We want to include all of our ministries in prayer today.”

Prayer requests began and continued around the circle, with people jumping in as their agency or office was called. When it was her turn, Amy Schenkel, a Resonate Global Mission regional leader, asked, “Lift us up in prayer, Lord. Give us a deep sense of you.”

After each agency or office prayed, King said: “Lord hear our prayer!”

While the group prayed for direction and blessing in the work of the various CRC offices and agencies, they also prayed for people involved in ministries around the world and the many others with whom they work.

Everyone then participated in saying the Lord’s Prayer together. And King followed up with a benediction: “God go before you to lead you, God go behind you to protect you, God go beneath you to support you, God go beside you to befriend you. Do not be afraid. May the blessing of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be upon you. Do not be afraid. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Amen.”

Most of those attending the prayer gathering currently work in the denominational building. Before heading back in, some participants clustered to chat in small groups.

Meanwhile, King mused about the good weather and how nice it was for people to get outside to pray. “It was a great thing to be out here and inviting God’s presence into the new year as we begin our ministries,” he said.

The words Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:18, said King, help to sum up what they were doing and why: “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”