night of prayer

Elder Harry Wheeler, third from left, prays with other elders over the next generation and those in attendance at Northridge Christian Church’s Night of Prayer, Sunday, Aug. 4, as Lead Pastor Mike Waers stands at the far right. The night tied in with the church’s 21 Days of Prayer event, which will run through August 25.

With glaring problems facing today’s society, 177 people gathered at Northridge Christian Church on a recent Sunday evening to emphasize prayer — something that many contemporary voices would claim is the opposite of the action that is needed.

For Northridge, though, action and prayer go together hand-in-hand.

Following a worship song, Lead Pastor Mike Waers addressed those in attendance at Night of Prayer while an electronic keyboard played sustained chords. A graphic displayed on projector screens in the church auditorium read “Next: A Battle Fought By All.”

 21 Days of Prayer

Night of Prayer serves as a kickoff for 21 Days of Prayer, an event that Northridge facilitates twice a year. Prayer sometimes focuses on local officials, at other times, on community, churches and businesses. 

“But this one is really toward our theme and this is ‘Fighting for the Next Generation,’” Waers said in an interview several days later. 

Generation Z and its ubiquitous access to technology faces a set of hurdles unheard of in the past — issues such as cyberbullying, suicide and school shootings.

“One of the things we know is, they’re high anxiety, there’s really some struggles with them,” Waers said. “So, we just want to pray about them, and them being in the church because we think the church is the answer to the problems of the world.” 

A daily prayer plan for the event included in the church’s bulletin leads off with Judges 2:10 in the Bible: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”

“That’s what we’re trying to keep from happening. We want to make sure this next generation knows about God,” Waers said.

Several days in, Waers said the church was already seeing the results of intentional prayer.

“We’ve been praying about this series and what would happen, and this Sunday, John Milledge’s football team will be with us for the 9:30 service. That’s a huge platform to be able to talk to those guys,” he said.

But when Satan sees something positive, he inevitably attacks, Waers said.

“We’ve had things break around here — like sound equipment and air conditioners, and just some personal crises in people’s lives. Some people say, ‘that’s just a coincidence,’” he said. “(You have) to recognize it for what it is. It’s just to make sure that we have all our stuff in order, so if something does happen, we can handle it.”

Praying as one

“This is what we want to do— we just want to fill this place with prayer,” Waers told the people gathered at Northridge on the evening of Aug. 4.

A range of pastors spoke in between songs led by a small worship team, leaving periods of quiet time for personal prayer.

Early Childhood Pastor Meaghan McBrayer talked about the desire for control that parents have in the relationships with their children. 

“I think sometimes we tend to get nervous when we lose a little bit of that control, and instead of getting nervous, because we don’t have control in the first place, we need to get on our knees and we need to pray,” McBrayer said.

Student Pastor Mary Helen Higgs and College Pastor Jonathan DeJesus both spoke about the struggles faced by older students and asked for prayer that they will find peace in Christ. 

Small Groups Pastor Kevin Magness spoke about the role his grandmother played in his relationship with Christ, asking specifically for prayer for grandparents as they mentor the next generation.

“The things that I have seen students deal with have been pornography, abuse, sexual orientation, gender identity, amongst many other things,” Higgs said. “I share these things with you tonight, not to scare you … but to say that there’s a small army in here fighting for your kids.”

To close the service, Waers invited the church’s elders on stage to pray for the future of the church.

“God we ask you to simply honor our requests, honor our pleas,” elder Harry Wheeler prayed in an emotion-filled room.

Taking action

For the Christians at Northridge and around the world, praying to God is part of taking action — but it doesn’t end there. 

Northridge believes in outreach to the community — from building ramps for the elderly, to canceling Sunday services once a year for Serve Day in the community, to supporting the local school systems and fighting for the next generation.

“If we have both prayer and action, we’re beginning to get something done. The way I’ve always seen it, is when we begin to pray, it seems like the doors open up. And so, as we pray, we’ve got opportunities to do more things,” Waers said. “For that person that’s prayed about it and they want to do more things, (Connections Pastor) Amy Raburn on our staff is connected in the community and she just helps people get connected in places they can help.”

— To get involved in 21 Days of Prayer, visit www.northridge.online/connect/21-days-of-prayer, download the Northridge Christian Church mobile app or visit Northridge’s Facebook page. Day 1 of 21 Days of Prayer was August 5 and the event will continue through August 25. To get involved with serving the community with Northridge, email Amy Raburn at amyraburn@northridgechristian.com. Have a Faith & Worship story suggestion? Email faithandworship@unionrecorder.com

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