Dear Friends in Christ,

I have a couple of things to share with you this month. First, however you are reading this newsletter, I know that it looks different to you. For many years our monthly newsletter was published to look like a newspaper. That was the standard communication means of most congregations, we have done that for years. Now we are changing that. Some of you are reading this electronically, and of course that is a new format for us. Some of you are reading this on paper, but we have changed and simplified the format. We’ve gone to a simpler layout that will be quicker and more efficient for the office to produce. In whatever format you are reading this, it looks different!

We updated this prayer chain concept a number of years ago.  Now we simply keep an email list of all the people who have agreed to pray.  When a prayer request comes in, we send it out by email.  It is much faster and more accurate.  But the concept is the same; we have a group of people who intentionally spend time praying for needs in the congregation. 

We are continuing to evolve and grow our prayer chain.  Those of you on the prayer chain may have noticed these changes.  For many years the prayer chain was focused on praying for needs in the congregation.  When members were hospitalized, when there was a crisis or concern, we added it the prayer chain.  And of course we continue to do that.  Any and all requests that come in are added to the list.  We want our prayer list to be a means of undergirding our members in times of crisis and need.

But we are also expanding what we are praying for.  In addition to the needs of individual members, we are now sending out requests to pray for our whole congregation.  We pray for the congregation’s mission and vision.  We pray for the groups in the congregation – Sunday School, the church council, our Primetimers.  We have expanded even more – we are asking for prayers for the NALC and our bishop; we are asking for prayers for partner ministries and partner congregations.  We pray for our nation and for needs that arise in a variety of places.  We have intentionally expanded our focus. 

We are intentionally expanding our prayer chain into a prayer team.  One of the foundations for a healthy congregation is a team or group of people who are regularly praying for the congregation.  We have that group in our prayer chain.  And so we are utilizing this group for more and more of the prayer work in the congregation.

Now of course we ask other groups to pray.  During the Wednesday nights of Advent and Lent we have people praying together before worship.  We ask all of our groups to take time for prayer.  But this prayer chain is such a gift, such an opportunity for ongoing prayer.  We have people who have agreed to be in prayer for the needs and visions of our congregation and beyond.  And so we are utilizing that in greater and greater ways. 

Thank you to everyone who serves on our prayer chain.  Your work is foundational for who we are.  And if you would like to join the prayer chain, just call or email me or the church office.  We will gladly add you to the list.  We intend to keep right on praying as we continue to grow into all that our Lord has in store for us!

God Bless,

Pastor Mark

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