Early Comments on 31 Days of Prayer

January 11, 2017 By: Phil Schaefer


In the running community to which I belong there is a certain frame of thinking that runners use to categorize themselves. There are the A runners (who run fast and long), the B runners (who run steady and reasonable), and the C runners (who enjoy the experience of just being out there regardless of the pace). Many people who are just beginning call themselves joggers. But in time, as they get in shape, something happens, and they change to calling themselves runners. Runners or joggers, A level, B level, or C level doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are all out there together.

We are now 12 days into our 31 days of prayer as a church in the month of January. We have experienced a plethora of comments on what people have expected and experienced. They have all been fascinating in their own way. The comments have ranged from the music is too loud, too quiet; I expected silence, I expected music without words, I expected music with words; I expected to do my thing, I didn’t know what to expect.

What is happening is the Holy Spirit is bringing us together to move us from a mass of people to a people who are being united. You may ask, “How can differing expectations be a sign of unification? Aren’t these differences a sign that we are not unified?” But this is precisely how the Holy Spirit works. This is how He has always moved. He delights to take people who think they are together, reveal to them how they are not alike, and then – in a way only He can do – begin to bring our hearts into alignment with Him.

The format for our prayer time is profoundly simple: create a list of songs and let the lyrics of the songs become our prayers.

With each passing evening this is what I am hearing:

“Once I figured out the format, I found it to be really helpful.”

“This has been the easiest time of prayer I’ve ever had.”

“This has been the most pleasant and restful time of prayer. I don’t feel pressure to fill an hour.”

“This has been the fastest hour of prayer I have ever experienced.”

“I am looking forward to this time all day long. I never thought I would look forward to a prayer time.”

“We want to get there a half hour early just to be in an atmosphere where we know prayer is going to take place. It brings us peace.”

We don’t know the total number who are participating in this hour but each evening about 100 people gather. We are seeing new faces as we go along. Feel free to be a part. The more you participate, the more you will find your idea of prayer being reshaped and renewed. Who knows, like the person who goes from being a jogger to being a runner, you may just begin to go from seeing yourself as not a prayer to being a prayer.

Pastor Phil

About Phil Schaefer

Pastor Phil has been a part of Christian Fellowship church since it began as a college ministry in 1978. He came on staff in 1982. His first assignment as a pastor was to organize the annual chicken dinner. He did so well, that they kept him around. Phil was named Senior Pastor in 1994 and after all these years, he still loves the church, especially the worship gatherings.

Phil and his wife, Deb, met at a Halloween party when they were 16 years old. They have been married for 41 years and have three grown sons and three grandkids.

Phil’s favorite authors are Eugene Peterson, C.S. Lewis, and Henry Nouwen. His favorite Jesus quote is “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29 His favorite ice cream flavor is Butter Pecan. He loves running marathons and watching the St. Louis Cardinals win the world series.