Probably many individuals who go to our church do not even know how much prayer goes on continuously in the background at Vineyard Westside. I started out at our church on the prayer line along with running the Connections Desk with my husband, Kevin. I’ve always been a big prayer warrior as far back as I can remember. Being brought up Catholic we had to memorize prayers. To this day most of those prayers are still ingrained in my mind. I’ve prayed in times of crisis, sickness, and in fear over the years. As I’ve grown deeper in my walk with Jesus my prayers have switched from the previous mentioned types of prayers to authoritative and thankful prayers.
Intercessory prayer goes on weekly at our church on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. A group of prayer warriors meet and pray over the church and listen to whatever God is trying to tell or show them. I’m fascinated by these people. Their team has grown and I love hearing what they have received from the Lord during their prayer times. Many times they receive confirmation from attending the second service from the prayers they have prayed or what they have heard from God. Their prayers will line up with either worship and or the message.
For a while, a feeling of heaviness and depression was felt at the church by individuals who come and go at the church during the week. Through weeks of pressing into praying about these feelings, a definite shift in the atmosphere was felt by several. One Sunday morning during our pre-service prayer, which is separate from the intercessory prayer, someone mentioned a lighter feeling in the “air”. It was confirmed by a few others in the room. Everyone was relaxed, happy and had a bubbling up in their spirits. The devoted praying and fasting of several prayer warriors aided in the positive break through that was felt by many. Instead of feeling darkness and negativity, a light airiness was felt. The determination, drive, and believing in what God can do made the break through happen. There is no complacency or apathy with individuals who have expectations to break down the barriers or walls that the enemy tries to set in our paths. Expectations of positive thoughts and working towards something that you know is pleasing to God, will break the strongholds of complacency and apathy.
I had to look up the meanings of complacency and apathy because many people were using them interchangeably. If I could find one of them to be a little more positive than the other it would be complacency. However, complacency will still separates us from God. When complacency sets in, one’s expectations diminish. Here is the definition of complacency followed by scriptures to give us a clearer picture.
com·pla·cen·cy - a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements.
ex: ”the figures are better, but there are no grounds for complacency"
synonyms: smugness · self-satisfaction · self-approval · self-approbation · self-admiration · self-congratulation · self-regard · gloating · triumph · pride ·
Luke 12:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
2 Chronicles 20:33 New International Version (NIV)
33 The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.
Apathy on the other hand feels more dark, depressing, and disconnected from everything and everyone including God.
ap·a·thy - lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
ex: ”widespread apathy among students”
Ephesians 4:18 New International Version (NIV)
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Romans 12:11-13 The Message (MSG)
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Satan loves apathy. It is a form of isolation, which is a playing field for the enemy especially when we are living through hard or difficult times. We must never lose the sense that God is always with us and in us. This Romans scripture especially reminds me of the intercessory prayer folks. If they were to become complacent by the first accomplishment of an answered prayer and loose expectations for more, we would not continue to see break throughs. Apathy tends to follow complacency if we are only focused on our self-accomplishments and not what God is doing. Think of complacency as the bait for apathy.
Just like in the Romans 12:11-13 states, “don’t get burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.” I think all of us go through seasons or periods in our lives where life becomes uneventful. I know for myself life has been super busy and I find myself just going through the motions. I look for something to spark my energy again. Search for the extra boost of what I do and where is God in the process. Paying attentions to the little things, the little moments, help keep me grateful and my heart aflame for God.
Recently we had a change in leadership for our Panera Bread Ministry. One season ended for a couple, The Eckels, and a new one began for another couple, the Sarvers. On a Sunday morning as I’m making my rounds through the church, I noticed these new serving trays in the kitchen filled with yummy pastries. It is funny how something so simple can spark a moment in time and refuel you. The Sarvers had big shoes to fill and they are knocking it out of the park. They are not being complacent, but owning the ministry. Communications are great and every time I see them they are smiling and appear to be enjoying the new adventure. They are making little changes that are showing ownership and responsibility. I am thankful for what the previous leaders have done for the ministry and what the new leaders will do for it. How can something so simple as new serving trays touch my heart? It is really simple when you stop and think about it. The leaders have a heart to serve others and God just as I do. The excitement of expectations, owning something and being responsible are contagious and have a way of refueling many. God continues to intertwine lives to keep us going and not to become a victim of the enemy with complacency or apathy.
Own it! Go after it! Be responsible! Expectations of positivity and excitement! Serve others as you would serve God. Holy Spirit protect our hearts by connecting us with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Take us out of our comfort zones and allow us to live and experience life with You. I pray this over all of us, in Jesus name.