Monday, July 09, 2007

I'll make an attempt to explain...

I'm not sure the ticker above can adequately express the excitement I feel as this weekend approaches. We have tried for years to come up with a name for it that is a bit more dazzling than "Prayer Group Retreat". And also one that doesn't sound like a pregnancy test when you abbreviate it, "PGR". But, we've never been able to put into words exactly what this weekend means to the 7 of us. So, I'm not sure why I'm trying to do so now.

Back in the day, we were club sisters at our favorite Christian university. In an attempt to make our beloved club more of a focus on God and less on winning that year's Sing Song competition, or an avenue to celebrate yet another engagement with a ring ceremony, our club chaplin decided to form prayer groups. The way this was organized was simple. Those of us that volunteered to be prayer group leaders would pick a time that was convenient for us and post it on a sign up sheet. Any other club sister that found herself available to pray at the designated time was encouraged to sign up. So Jo and I volunteered for Monday nights (it was Monday nights wasn't it girls?) and waited to see who would sign our list.

When it was all said and done, our little group of 5 was set to meet in my living room floor the next Monday night, to form a prayer group. I don't remember much about that first meeting accept feeling this huge burden of being one of the "leaders" and not having the foggiest idea what you were actually supposed to do in a prayer group. I think I probably read a verse out of the Bible, since it has quite a bit to say about prayer and other such things. And then I think we just shared prayer requests and prayed.

When everyone showed up for prayer group the next week, I felt like I'd done something right, so we went with it. Every week we got together, shared prayer requests, and prayed. And girls, we prayed for everything. Nothing was too big or too small or too inconsequential. Through our years in college we prayed for classes, tests, relationships, new marriages, guidance, wisdom, peace, social dates, siblings, friends ... all the while learning about each other and what it means to be brought together in Christ. Really, in the beginning we didn't have much in common except club and Jesus. And it didn't take me long to realize that I'd done nothing to make this little group come together, but God had his hand in it the entire time.

Oddly enough there are very few times that our weekly meetings included food. It has caused us to be concerned that the church of Christ might not acknowledge our little prayer group. Because we all know that when you get together in the name of Jesus, outside of the appointed times, there must be a potluck involved.

Towards the end of our senior year, we decided that we spent quite a bit of time praying for one of my roommates and a mutual friend of the rest of the group. So we invited her to join our little group, even though she was (gasp!) from another club. She serves as a cherished member of our little circle and also to remind us that Jesus even loves the people in all those other clubs.

A few days before graduation, we decided to take our first "Prayer Group Retreat". I think the name was sort of meant to mock all of the organizations at our university that went on retreats. I mean if you were a part of any organized activity, and could find an adult to pose as a sponsor and claim the group legitimate, that group took a retreat. Understandably groups like the band, student senate, and dorm RA's took trips in the name of teamwork. But we all agreed it was going a bit far when we heard of groups like "All Those Who Walk to the Cafeteria at 12:15" and "Everyone Who Claims the Bench by the Fountain as Their Favorite" were going on retreats. So, Prayer Group Retreat, or PGR, was named.

And, the rest, as they say, is history. We've been spending the weekend together every year since then. And yes, we do pray, quite a bit, actually. And because we meet for an entire weekend there is also food involved. So much food that I think we have made up for all of the foodless meetings in the beginning. Along the way, we've picked up another member that we all knew from school, and she has added so much to our circle of friends.

Every year is such a treasure to me. Through our bond in Jesus, and our passion for prayer, we have been able to witness supernatural comfort, peace that passes understanding, unfathomable forgiveness, and holy restoration. The darkest times in life are made bareable, and the cherished moments are so much more joyous when shared with Prayer Group. These next 4 days cannot pass quickly enough.


Larissa said...

I think that is so awesome that you guys do that. That is wonderful! I hope you have a fun and blessed time!

The Binkley Family said...

Wow. That is all I can say, really. How amazing to have a group of women like that in your life! Have a great time.

BTW--I just got back into town and got your tag.

Laci said...

I know how excited you get, and I know you all will have such an uplifting time together! Have fun!!