Spreading Our Hands Toward Heaven (Previewing the 2015 NACC)

By Stephanie Young

Into the turbulent chaos of our times rings a signal: “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way” (1 Kings 8:23). So begins a prayer for the nation of Israel by her king, as he stood before the whole assembly, spreading his hands toward Heaven. The national concerns were strikingly similar to our present day—unjust treatment by a fellow man, defeat at the hands of an enemy, disaster and disease, foreigners who do not belong, war, sin. And Solomon’s repetitive cry? “Hear from heaven and forgive.”

02_NACC_Young_JNWe, the churches of this nation, have continued wholeheartedly in the way. Imperfect as we are, we hold the treasure in jars of clay. We know the anchor that is so desperately needed. And, as our theme for the 2015 NACC states, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). We will come together in June to recharge, refresh, equip, and encourage those who have taken the charge to enter the surge and become fishers of men, throwing out lifelines and searching for those about to go under.

And . . . we will pray. In the months and weeks leading up to the convention, we invite all who are part of our fellowship to join us in prayer. We will pray for boldness to speak, opportunities to speak, and for wisdom and words to speak. We will pray for the audience we speak to, for ears to be unstopped, for hearts to be softened. We will pray specifically for every person who will be speaking at the 2015 NACC. And we will pray for servants at work in all corners of this nation—pastors, nursery workers, teachers, building maintenance crews, worship leaders, technology teams, and those who lead and teach our youth.

We speak, as a church, in a thousand ways—sometimes with a mighty roar, sometimes with a light breeze or a cup of cold water. Let us come together as a whole fellowship of individual congregations and Christians and spread our hands toward Heaven. Let us pray that the Lord God of Israel would hear.

 

Stephanie Young serves as clinical director of Youthworks Adolescent and Family Counseling Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also serves alongside her husband, Dwight, in Bloc Ministries, an urban ministry they founded.

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