Our Shepherds and their spouses are required to sign a pledge each year where they promise to fulfill their duties by doing things such as pray and read the Bible regularly and attend all required meetings. Below the line for their signatures, there is another line for me to sign, where I pledge to pray for them once a week.
We recently changed the wording “once a week” to “once every two weeks”. We now have more than 170 house churches. I’ve felt that my prayers have become perfunctory because there are so many to pray for each week. So I decided to pray for half each week so that I can spend more time praying for each of them when I do.
Praying every morning for those who have become our church members but have not yet received Christ as their personal savior takes a long time. Until now, I have prayed for them until they make a decision no matter how long it takes. But from now on, I’ll pray for them up to 2 years. I feel that the time I have to pray for church members has suffered because of those people who have refused to receive Jesus for many years.
I’m trying to shorten my prayer list because I feel more tired these days. It’s a consequence of my early morning prayer time.
I’m naturally a night person. For me, staying up late is easy; getting up early is a battle. My body also seems to need more sleep than the average person’s. I used to sleep 8 hours on weekdays and 10 on the weekends before I became a pastor. It’s a miracle that I’ve been able to maintain my daily prayer routine for the past 15 years.
When I first came to Houston, in addition to my early prayer times, I prayed through the night in the sanctuary every Wednesday. I took Thursdays off as a day of rest, and that was enough for me to recover fully. But my age seems to be affecting me as it’s getting harder to keep up my regular morning prayer time. I’ve tried to sleep earlier to give my body a little more rest, but our church’s many evening programs make that impossible to do regularly. I recently started shifting my morning prayer time back 10 minutes. That seems to have helped a little.
I’m taking this week off as a vacation. A few years ago I had several polyps removed from my colon. And I’m scheduled for another endoscopy on Thursday. I need to fast on Wednesday to clear my intestines. Since I have to stay home on Wednesday and Thursday, I decided to take the entire week off and get some extra sleep to fight off my sense of fatigue.
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