So, the youth ministries at Portland Christian Center have recently revived the "Campus Missions" that we focused on a few years ago. I still, to this day, receive emails from the Campus Missions organization since I was a Campus Missionary when I was ending high school and starting college. My Fire Bible was given to me by the organization when I signed up. And although we all kind of stopped focusing on the formal responsibilities of what we signed up for (considering most of the people who signed up with me have gone on to college), the five key principles of Campus Missions are still ingrained in my mind.
Pray, Live, Tell, Serve, Give.
I still think that no one list of "tasks" so clearly and succinctly sums it up better than these. Not only can these be applied to the life of someone who has formally taken on the responsibilities of a Campus Missionary, but these are the underlying principles of living that "missional" life that Pastor Ray has repeatedly taught us about. To me, the missional lifestyle is not a special, higher way of living that is different from what "normal Christians" choose to follow, but is the natural response for someone who has responded to the call of Jesus to surrender our lives to His will and follow Him. It's the way we are supposed to live.
On a former blogging spree I went on a few years ago, I sought to teach what these five concepts meant, and so I started a string of five entries, one for each. Pretty sure I never got to the fifth one. And so it went with any blogging initiative I began in the past. But this time around, behold, I have the Blogger app! I have no excuse but to write about them.
And the thing is, these are things that God has taught be so much about since the last time I tried to teach (about something I really didn't understand), and these have also been the source of much of what God has taught me. There's too much deep, juicy stuff that God has taught me for me to just keep it quiet. So, here I am again.
"So, here I am again." That sounds familiar. It sounds like what I felt like every time I used to go to God in prayer. "Again" meant, like, since the last time I talked to Him, which was like, oh I don't know, three weeks before! Do you think those prayers had any power, considering how "often" I came before Him?
Well, things have changed. I have since come to the realization that there really is no way to have that deep, personal relationship with Jesus without going to Him in prayer as often as possible. And while I pray every night (increasingly on my knees, passionate to seek Him), that's still not what prayer for a person living the missional life means.
"Pray without ceasing." - I Thess. 5:17 (NASB)
I think that makes it clear enough. But do you want it to be more clear? Okay.
"Pray continually" - I Thess 5:17 (NIV)
"Never stop praying." - I Thess 5:17 (NLT)
"Pray constantly." - I Thess 5:17 (HCSB)
Doesn't matter how you say it, if you want to take hold of the life that God wants for you (missional living), you must pray every opportunity you have. And for me, that looks like praying under my breath in public or getting on my knees at night because it helps me focus and keeps me from being distracted. Prayer is not an email you send once and then wait for a response within 24 hours - it's a chat screen on Facebook that's constantly up and connected.
People seem have a misconception about prayer that it's some devoutly religious, formal concept that just identifies you as being a Christian. While it should be taken seriously and revered, it is a deeply personal connection with my Friend, Father, Brother, Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Bridegroom who is and forever will be always who I need and who I need Him to be. And that is why I stopped my homework and wrote this: I felt the urge to pray.
I hope you commit yourself to not just praying everyday, but praying continually. God is your Friend who is always there and who always wants to talk to you. So talk to Him!