By Libi Clifford
It’s September again − the month that can never make up its mind whether it is summer or fall. Perhaps that is why it is a favourite month for so many people. It is the best of both seasons.
For churches, it is often a month of changes - new beginnings, a reset from the problems of the winter and spring, new programs, new optimism and rejuvenated clergy, back from their vacations.
Prayer also needs to be an integral part of September because everything moves along so well with all the new beginnings – until it doesn’t.
What happens? Weren’t those new beginnings what we wanted after all?
What seemed like a wonderful idea to some and that needed to be implemented immediately, is an anathema to others for all kinds of reasons. We embrace new things like new foods, new clothes, and new jobs easily when the choice was ours to make, but not when it was a decision made by someone else.
Anyone who has lived with small children will tell you that results are much easier to achieve by offering two acceptable alternatives than by imposing either of the choices. It is all about having control of the decision.
What do we do when we feel we have no control? We certainly can become anxious and upset. Turning to God through prayer can relieve some of the anxiety.
Philippians 4:6 says: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.”
For me, the prayer is often simple:
“God, do you care about any of this, or am I just making a problem where none exists? In your plan for the world, does this really matter?” Then I wait.
Pray, put your trust in God and listen for an answer. The answer may be anything from “Get over yourself. It isn’t about you” to “You need to express your concerns”, but God will answer and give direction. Just knowing that can reduce the stress of a change with which you disagree.
Prayer should be a prime component of the month of September (and all months) for everyone as we move forward with the inevitable changes in our church.
Libi Clifford is an AFP Huron Executive.