Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Bethany student ministry: Rivervalley prayer team
in my junior year I was invited to do a student ministry with several of my friends Dan and Joy Pusey, and Stephanie Ward (now Perry). we were going to be running a prayer night at Joy's Dad's church. And because we were Idealistic college students we decided to have all kinds of fun.
Now the thing about Rivervalley Wesleyan church was that it was a newer church. it had only moved into its building maybe 10 years prior. and they decided to have chairs instead of pews so they could change the format of the sanctuary. So every week we set up prayer stations. there was a place to pray for healing, to journal, a cross set up so you could pray for someone's salvation. there was a place for intercessory pray, and most importantly there was a place to part take in communion.
Something you should know about the Wesleyan Church their tradition is that communion must be served once a quarter. this is because it was not uncommon for this tradition to have circuit riders and this way each church was assured to get communion at least once a quarter. no a days it is just they way it is done.
So there were two things that happened while I worked at this student ministry. 1. I started to learn more about prayer and how to pray, 2. I first experienced communion on a regular basis.
the interesting thing was this was taking place at the same time I was doing or had done a couple of other things. that semester I wrote my paper on Transubstantiation, that spring I participated in lent, and that new years I had resolved to become a person who prays a lot.
1. learning how to pray: It is hard to say that this free style form of praying would eventually lead to me loving community prayers and praying a rosary. but there was a focus to it. and I should say here that the service changed considerably over the coarse of the semester to end as an old style prayer meeting where we all sat around in a circle and prayed together as a community. but I would say that the way this ministry taught me to pray was that it forced me to carve out a time in my week to pray. It was two hours that I had to spend in prayer, there was little else to do.
2. Communion once a week: once in youth group our leader had talked about a church he had visited that had communion every Sunday. we couldn't believe it why would you have communion every Sunday? (the tradition i grew up in falls into the memorialist understanding of the Eucharist) Some how between my paper and this experience having communion on a regular basis made me realize that the ones who have communion every week are the ones who understand communion. there was something empowering about receiving communion every week. it was not till I was back in a church that served communion once a quarter that I realized that I wanted to be at a church which served communion every week.