End of year need: $83,396
Every Sunday growing up, the late Rev. Charles Henderson would come up during the alter call and say, “It’s prayer time.” As soon as those words were spoken through the dented microphone, there either grew a hush in the sanctuary or a wailing of lamentations. He’d continue, “As a child I would be outside playing in the yard, and I would run in the house sweaty and filled with energy. I would see Momma down on her knees talking to God — she was praying! In the middle of her prayers, she would call out to me saying ‘Boy, come in here and pray!’ I would yell back to her ‘Nah, Momma, I don’t need to pray. I don’t need to talk to God.’ And Momma would yell back, ‘boy, just keep living!’ Y’all know what? I kept on livin,’ and I realized I needed prayer.”
Each week, Tuesdays to be exact, I walk the entirety of Wilshire and the outside perimeter praying for you, some weeks calling out individual names and other times the congregation as a whole. For almost a year, this has become a weekly routine. Sometimes these prayers include words, and sometimes they are exactly as the book of Romans states, “for when we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” I know you already know this; prayer works. I am not just talking about it in the form of getting closer to our budgeted outcome. But I mean in all aspects of who we are as Christian people. To paraphrase my favorite theologian, Abraham Heschel, prayer is the worship of the heart. To live without prayer is to live without God because to pray is to sense the presence of God. Before we can understand the essence of God, we must find ourselves in the presence of God. Prayer becomes the outpouring of what is within us which can only be reconciled to and with God.
“Prayer,” Heschel states, “is a way to master what is inferior in us, to discern the vital and the useless. Prayer clarifies our hope and intentions. It helps us discover our true aspirations, the pangs we ignore, and the longings we forget. It is an act of self-purification, quarantine for the soul. It gives us the opportunity to be honest, to say what we believe, and to stand for what we say.”
This is my last Giving Tree email for the year. And I have one last request: “Will you pray with me?” so we might together discover our true aspirations, the pangs we ignore, and the longings we forget.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the ways you have contributed to the Unified Budget this year.
I love you!
P.S. Time is running out to make a financial gift in 2023. If you’re at church on Sunday, Dec. 31, (and I hope you are!), you can of course give when the offering plate is passed. Online gifts can be made right up until midnight on Dec. 31.