In just a few days, my wife Lorie and I leave for Tanzania where I will serve as a guest lecturer at at the new Wesley College in Mwanza. I'll be teaching two college courses in an intensive format: 30 hours of classroom instruction per week for two weeks.
As I've been preparing my class on Wesleyan theology, I have fallen in love (again) with John Wesley. The man was amazing. God used him to bring thousands of people to Christ--and to start a movement that literally changed the world. Today 70+ million people trace their spiritual heritage to John Wesley and his brother Charles.
The Methodist movement was born in prayer. In the picture above, I'm kneeling at John Wesley's prayer bench at his house in London. This is how John started every day. He would get up at 4 am and seek the presence and power of God. Today people refer to that little prayer room as the "Power House of Methodism."
God's power is unleashed through prayer. Look at the book of Acts. Many of us are familiar with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that took place on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). But what were the followers of Jesus doing before that powerful event? "They all joined together constantly in prayer ..." (Acts 1:14).
I'm headed to Tanzania. My two-week mission is to teach college students. In a way, that's not what most people would call earth-shattering. It's not preaching in the fields, like John Wesley, or baptizing 3000 in one day, like they did in Acts 2.
But what if God, in answer to our prayers, uses these classes to do more than distill information? What if, in answer to our prayers, these classes become a time of real spiritual growth? What if, in answer to our prayers, God uses these classes to shape Christian leaders who do in Tanzania what John Wesley did in England?
What if, in answer to our prayers, God anoints Lorie and me to bring real joy and encouragement to our hard-working missionaries in Tanzania?
And what if, in answer to our prayers, God uses this time to stretch, grow, and change ... me? So that when I'm done with this year of sabbatical, I'll be better equipped to serve God in my next ministry assignment?
These are the kinds of things that happen when we pray. When we go to the Power House. When we ask God to pour out his Spirit.
I hope you'll join me in doing just that.
*If you want to know why I'm standing on a grave outside a church in England, check out one of my favorite John Wesley stories.