Dear Lord, Thank You For Our Life Group!
“Dear Lord, thank you for our Life Group”. It appears to be a very simple prayer, and in a sense, it is noticeably straightforward and to the point. But when I read those words, I travel back through the transport of my memory to a Sunday night two years ago.
Starting something new
It had been several months since we had launched our new “Life Group” ministry as a Sunday night option for the believers in the church. Much prayer, discussion, and research had been invested over a number of years, with the previous 12 months being a period of intentional and focused planning.
The initial response had been greater than our surveys had revealed, resulting in what one observer humorously described as “medium groups” rather than “small groups”. The elders were purposeful in seeking to organize a ministry that would connect believers more intimately to God and to one another.
The five groups began to meet in a variety of settings, including homes, a room in the chapel building, our activity building, and a house on the chapel property. Led by two men in each group, the one-and-a-half-hour Life Group meetings consist of a time of food and fellowship, a group study of the Bible, and an opportunity for prayer.
A step of faith
It was a giant step of faith, particularly due to the life groups gathering simultaneously with a meeting that followed the usual pattern for our Sunday evenings (an hour consisting of singing and ministry from the Word). There were some who preferred that setting over the small group context.
Three of our groups had an elder as one of the co-leaders, with another elder taking responsibility for overseeing the “preaching meeting”. A key was that the elders were strongly unified in taking this step for the benefit of the flock, and carefully sought the Lord’s guidance in selecting the group leaders.
Signs of growth
The prayer quoted at the beginning of this article was lifted up to the Lord by a young married man, a father of two young sons. The men in our Life Group had gone into the basement for a time of prayer while the women stayed upstairs for their time of sharing and praying.
This particular brother was known to be faithful, but also very quiet when it came to public settings. When he started his prayer, his sincerity and humility provided a powerful background for what that first line communicated to me as a listener.
I later realized that he had captured the essence of our goal for the Life Groups. Approaching God as his “dear Father”, his tone and address evidenced a maturing connection with the One who had created and recreated him.
Learning and applying
Our time together of digging into God’s Word and applying it to our lives was impacting this young man’s fellowship with his Savior and Lord. He was the Source of this gathering, and therefore was the One who was to receive praise and thanksgiving for His provision.
I was deeply struck by the “our” that he employed to describe the Life Group. A deeper connection with his brothers and sisters in Christ was being forged through meaningful discussion over food and in the Scriptures, and now in these moments of intercessory prayer.
What a joy to see and hear our hopes and prayers being fulfilled in the life of this young brother in the Lord!
We are now in our third year (September-May), and are seeing continued growth in many believers of all ages connecting more intimately with the Lord and with one another.
It is not without challenges and discouragements at times, but I can sincerely pray with many others in the various groups, “Lord, thank you for our Life Group”.