Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Redeemer Healing Prayer Service

Our church has been hit with an unusually high amount of suffering lately. We have many members in the hospital, facing surgery, or dealing with other serious medical conditions. The clergy decided we should do the best thing we can in times like these - pray.

Tonight, about 60 of us gathered in the sanctuary of Church of the Redeemer. Jenna asked if I'd join her for the music, and I'm so glad I did. I had been debating leaving work early and going to the service, and this answered that debate for me. It was just the two on us on music (le petit praise team!) and it was a good partnership. As people entered the church, we encouraged them to sing on songs like "Be Thou My Vision" and "Here I am to Worship." After a brief welcome, we lead them in a series of songs and choruses, including one of my favourites, "In Christ Alone."

Then, we were encouraged to gather in groups of 5 to share prayer requests, and to pray. There was no real guidance other than that. We could pray in any way that seemed right for us. We could pray for each other, the church, family, friends ... the only real theme was 'healing.' The clergy and elders stayed at the altar rail for those wanting individual prayer and annointing, and they played a gentle CD during the prayer time so people wouldn't feel self-conscious about saying their needs out loud. It was wonderful to be in the crowd and, without actually catching any of the details, to listen to the sounds around me. To my right, a group was in fervent prayer; to my left, people were telling stories; and in the back, a few old friends were sharing a spontaneous laugh, maybe because of a shared experience, maybe as a way to relieve the pain.

As the prayer time came to an end, Jenna and I regrouped to lead the congregation in "Blessed Be Your Name." Ever since the accident, I find verse 2 of this song emotional/difficult/challenging to sing - it just has new layers of meaning for me.

After the service, Jenna and I treated ourselves to a long visit at Fido (lemon cake!) and then braved the crazy dark-windy-rainy-thundery-lightningy weather on the drive home. Summer, please?

By Matt Redman
Blessed Be Your Name,
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name,
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out ,
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name,
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name


You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name


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