“Are you listening to me? Really listening?”
-Jesus, Matthew 11:15 (The Message)
It was the first verse her eyes fell upon when she opened her Bible. If there was any doubt about God showing up on the retreat, it was erased at that moment. Clearly, the Risen Jesus had some things to say to her that afternoon. And she wasn’t the only one.
On a hot Saturday in late July, 26 brave souls quieted themselves long enough to hear the whisper of God. After a brief orientation, they turned off their cell phones, closed down their laptops, and experimented with perhaps the most powerful of spiritual disciplines—solitude. In the peaceful stillness of the Chiara Center, they were amazed at how clearly God spoke.
One woman had been dealing with medical issues. As she sat quietly, she felt God cleanse her. She realized at that moment she could still be Christ’s hands and feet to others, even in the midst of her own health issues.
Another woman was surprised by some “old stuff” that came up. This time she was able to release it to God and say, “It is finished!” She felt freed from carrying that stuff anymore.
One of the men wanted to know whether he should continue to serve in a specific ministry. Before the afternoon was over, he sensed God encouraging him to stay with it.
A young woman came to the retreat feeling restless, like something was coming, but she didn’t know what—some kind of big change. To her surprise, God gently whispered, “You are not without direction. You are right where you need to be.”
Each of these personal messages and many more were received by everyday people who spent a single afternoon listening to God. What might God want to say to you, if you set aside some time to really listen?
Thanks for talking and listening to God. Your spiritual work is making an enormous difference.
Turning up the Listening Power,
The Soulful Seven
First UMC Prayer Team
Please feel free to pray for a different area each day of the week. Thanks for your prayers.
- Sunday—Petition the Lord of the Harvest to invite 100 new servants into areas of ministry through our new series, Building God’s Brand, and our Ministry Expo on August 18-19 & 25-26.
- Monday—Praise GOD for an all-time high of over 280 kids that were involved with our Vacation Bible School on July 9-13! Please pray that the theme Scripture, “Everything is Possible with God” (Mark 10:27) will take root in their hearts. Also, pray that those without church homes will find their way into our Sunday morning KidLife ministry.
- Tuesday—Thank GOD for the 26 participants in our first Silent Prayer Retreat on July 28. As we carve out time to be alone with God, ask the Holy Spirit to expand and deepen the spiritual life of First United Methodist Church.
- Wednesday—Seek God for dozens of new kids, youth, and families to be involved in our Fall Kick-off for KidLife and our Fusion Student Ministry on Sunday, August 19.
- Thursday—Pray for Spiritual Revival at First UMC that would begin in each of our hearts first and manifest itself in 1) Unity, 2) Conversions, and 3) A Spirit of Generosity.
- Friday—By faith, thank the Holy Spirit for anointing our Downtown facility at 5th and Capitol to sell in God’s perfect timing. The Spirit is stirring. Movement is happening. Please keep praying us forward!
- Saturday—Pray for God’s richest blessings on Eric, Debbie, Ryan, and Camille Hendrickson as Eric begins his new job as the Director of Music at Williamsville High School this month. We trust God will use Eric in incredible ways, but he will be greatly missed on our staff. Also, please pray for Elyssa Swickard as the new Director of our Celebration Youth Choir, our Youth Handbell Choir, and our 3rd—6th grade children’s choir. Finally, PRAISE GOD for our staff team of Alyce Foster, Andrew Schmidt, Bob Swickard, Brad Curtis, Carli Burton, Charles Lange, Chase Carlisle, Cheryl Long, Dennis Fors, Donald Powell, Elyssa Swickard, Eric Hendrickson, Holly Taylor, James “J” Dunlap, Lindsay Walker, Michael Paulson, Pam Long, Patricia Harding, Randy Osborn, Roger Ross, See Tsai Chan, Sharon Sweeney, and several caring nursery workers. Please pray for God’s supernatural favor on their lives and ministries.
If you would like to receive this Prayer Update by email, please contact
Sharon Sweeney at firstname.lastname@example.org.