The Top of the List

Jan 29, 2020

As I write, I’m preparing to travel for a week for work. There’s laundry to be folded, outfits to be prepared (for the kids, not for me!), and bags to pack. I know that coming out of this weeklong trip will be months of kingdom-advancing, nose to the grindstone work – and I am equal parts energized and exhausted, all before I’ve even boarded the airplane.

There’s lots that I know I need to do before I go. Fold the socks so my husband can find pairs easily. Check. Pack my toiletries bag. Check. Look at the weather in SC. Check. (70 degrees in January – yay for traveling south!) My checklist is a mile long, but it makes me feel like it’s under control, like everything will be done to my standard and on my timeline. It makes me feel safe.

There is one notable thing missing from the checklist, however – pray. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve grown up in the church, I work for a church planting organization – I know how valuable prayer is. And yet, it doesn’t seem that prayer will prepare dinner or put the kids to bed tonight. Prayer doesn’t advance the cause in ways that are immediate or obvious, so it’s simply not on the list.

It’s simple in the everyday rush to push prayer to the bottom of the to-do list. One of my favorite things about working for Stadia is the focus that our Nav Team has on prayer. Our VP of Advancement sets a timer for 11:09 every single day to remind himself to pray for Stadia and our partners and planters, and has invited everyone on staff to do the same. Stadia’s President set one of our goals in 2018 (when we celebrated our 15th birthday as an organization) to be to gather 15,000 prayer partners. Prayer is an unwritten but very much practiced value in Stadia world, and I’m grateful, because in moments when I’m focused on the good work I want to do, our focus on prayer helps me to remember that at the end of the day, it’s all about the good work that only God can do.

This year, we invite you to move prayer to the top of the list along with us. We want to remember each day that Jesus Himself, in the deepest, darkest moments of His life, prayed. Jesus took the time to teach us how to pray so that we wouldn’t have to get caught up in the details and what-ifs – we can simply follow the patterns He set out for us and trust Him to do what only He can do.

Vertical Church says, “When You speak, when You move/ When You do what only You can do / It changes us / It changes what we see and what we seek.” In 2020, we want to change what we see and what we seek. To do that, we will be focusing on how Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6. So to end this blog and kick off a year of moving prayer to its rightful place, let’s pray together as He taught us to pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

Amen and amen.

Josie is the Marketing Manager for Stadia. She lives in Baltimore and attends a church plant called The Foundry – the same church she and her husband Trevor helped start as part of the launch team six years ago. Josie has three young sons and loves watching baking competition reality shows when she’s not chasing her kids around.

Josie Barton

Marketing Manager, Stadia Church Planting