God is Moving!
On Wednesday April 7, eight churches on Aquidneck Island re-launched 1Prayer. What is 1Prayer? This movement started in 2009 and has 3 purposes: 1) To glorify Jesus Christ; 2) To express our unity in Jesus Christ; 3) To have focused and intentional prayer. This network of churches includes (in alphabetical order): CrossPoint Church, Evangelical Friends Church of Newport, First Presbyterian Church of Newport, Gates of Praise Newport, Graceway Community Church, Lifepath Church, Middletown Baptist and Salvation Army Newport.
What does a typical 1Prayer service look like? We have a time of worship in music followed by a time of corporate and small-group prayer. Specifically, we pray for four things: 1) WARFARE: we are praying against the spirits of radical independence, isolation, rebellion, denial of truth, addiction, apathy, and a religious spirit; 2) REVIVAL: we are praying for the spiritual revival of the churches in Newport County; 3) AWAKENING: we are praying for the repentance of sinners in Newport County; 4) TRANSFORMATION: we are praying for the spiritual transformation of our community.
Our next big prayer event is the National Day of Prayer, scheduled for Thursday, May 6 at 6pm at CrossPoint Church, 14 Rhode Island Avenue, Newport. The format for this service will be similar to that of 1Prayer: worship in song and prayer. Particularly, we will be praying for our nation, our military, our state, and our life influences such as the media, education and families. Everyone is invited! For more information, please visit www.ndptf.org.
Amazingly, 1Prayer is only one part of the recent new unity movement in our area. Another piece is AI Youth. AI Youth is a monthly gathering for the teens of Aquidneck Island where they can join together for Worship, Fun, & Fellowship. They meet the first Friday of the month from 6—9pm and rotate meeting locations.
Now, you might be thinking at this point: what is all the fuss over this unity stuff? Is it all sizzle and no steak? I believe there are two reasons why unity is crucial to the spiritual climate of our community. Firstly, unity is God’s passion. One of Jesus’ last prayers before he went to the cross was for unity: “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:20—23 New Living Translation).
The second reason that highlights the importance of unity is that we are convinced that without unity, we cannot change the spiritual climate of Newport County. We cannot lower the rate of crime, addictions, divorce, poverty, etc. without unity. The churches must band together in order for real change and transformation to occur. I like how author John Ortberg puts it: “Winning alone is called losing.” Churches might have small, individual victories, but the overall battle for societal transformation will not be won.
For us, this would be the most disappointing result since we believe that the good news of the love of Jesus Christ not only changes lives, but it changes communities, nations, and the world. One of our theme verses sums it up nicely: “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners” (Colossians 1:6, New Living Translation).
So God is moving in our community. He is doing a new and fresh thing. The question is: Are you ready to check it out?