Intro: UniteBoston was inspired by Derek Arledge’s devotion to attend the various gatherings around the city during the 10 Days of Prayer in October. This week, Derek Arledge draws some fascinating parallels from his experience with 10 Days Boston and his background in fitness.
”What is that echo?”
”Oh my! Everyone is praying again.“
"Are your arms tired for worshipping so much? My shoulders are getting sore.”
"I’m so hungry; I can’t wait to have communion again.”
Church is a part of life, whether folks like it or not.
But fitness is also a part of life, whether folks like it or not. Sigh.
I was recently a part of 10 Days Boston, a ten day gathering of worship and prayer around Greater Boston. I had the opportunity to visit other denominations as a way of promoting unity among various churches in the Greater Boston Area.
While some rank Boston as one of the least spiritually-minded cities in the nation (with a score of 98 out of 100,) my experience proved otherwise. By encouraging followers of Christ to consider others with love, intrigue, fervor, and an open heart rather than bias, I have seen how 10 Days Boston breaks barriers and builds relationships to express unity the way God desires.
Additionally, I found that God also has a lot of humor that unexpectedly snuck up on me. Oh yes! If you attend a different church every day for one week, then you have to be physically able, trained and ready for the experience.
This brings me to share a bit about fitness. Boston is a dynamic place highlighting many aspects of health; some even consider Boston to be the health mecca of the United States. In fact, there are many parallels between fitness and church, and UniteBoston hints at this parallel. Although there are many houses of the Lord, Boston is not currently known as an area filled with life-giving churches. Someone has to be willing to meet these individuals that are all in for God to dispel the negative stereotype of a church-less Greater Boston Area. So, my encouragement to Christians in Boston is to have an active mind, body and spirit in exploring what God is doing in the city. Indeed, your spirit is the smartest of the three. Let me explain.
During 10 Days, I experienced a Korean worship gathering for the first time. This opened my mind to a different way of worship and prayer. In fact, I felt that the convenience of having a translator and headphones enriched my worship experience. As each person prayed, it was very similar to being in a group exercise class. The sanctuary was rightfully dark and intimate like a spin class in the evening. But here at the worship service, the “instructors” kept changing, each person expressing his/her own genre of energy expenditure. This only made me desire more of God and inspire my curiosity to see what the next day would be like.
The next service I attended was the Taize service at Trinity Church. Below is a selfie of my wife Chandace and I at the Taize prayer gathering on Sunday evening.
The last time I heard Latin spoken was at Gonzaga High School, so it was somewhat of a shock for me to hear this in a Taize service in a preserved church in the middle of downtown Boston. Honestly, this makes exercising in the oldest YMCA in the middle of downtown Boston a run for its sweat. Sometimes, you just enter a service and everything feels sacred. And sometimes…you enter a gym for the first time and everything feels sacred and sweaty. But, the former wins!
After a few days of re-arranging everything on your schedule and getting your family organized to attend these various churches, you thank the Lord that you can actually move well. Then, He reminds you that you need to nourish yourself throughout the day and stretch.
Why? A properly nourished individual will want to eat again if they move more. Hence, one take at communion should make a budding, adventurous, and curious churchgoer hungry for more communion and the body of Christ. “Be still” for one second, because as you lift your arms and open your palms as a sign of receiving the Lord, your deltoids begin to develop lactic acid. Lactic acid gets the bad rep of tiring out your muscles, but I think it brings us back to the Lord to remind us that He is where we draw our strength from.
Practice makes perfect. The energetic services at these UniteBoston gatherings included many prayers. Many people were blessed as a result of lifting hands high. As Christians became healthier spiritually, I believe that the city of Boston and indeed the world was impacted mightily.
All in all, I learned that the city of Boston has some serious worshippers. In my mind, Boston is not only a city that is among the first in health but also a city known for its love towards the Lord!
By Derek Arledge, http://derekteempt.blogspot.com
How do you pray for a city?
It can seem to be overwhelming to discern how we can be praying for Boston. Yet Boston is just made up of various congregations and Christ-followers serving as Jesus’ hands and feet in their individual communities.
At the last gathering of 10 Days Boston last Saturday, we stood in front of a wall of windows overlooking Boston to praise God and make declarations over the city.
We also divided into groups and shared about how God was working among our various communities. Here are some insights that Christians from all over the city shared:
Somerville/ Watertown/ Greater Boston Area
Praise: Unity across various Christian congregations and many new church plants
Prayer: Due to the transient nature of this part of Boston, strong church leadership and discipleship is needed to help Christianity to continue flourishing here
Dream: We dream that the gospel would have an irresistible influence in the community
Praise: In the various outreaches that have been done, there is more openness and receptivity to God
Prayer: Pride and self-righteousness is a stronghold; pray that God would bring us to our knees and show people how much they need God
Dream: We dream that every resident in Cambridge would know the true extravagent love of God
Praise: We praise God for new life in Somerville including the YWAM base and many new church plants
Prayer: Pray that the people who have been jaded and hurt by Christians would encounter God’s love
Dream: We dream with God that the Christian church in Boston would be reknown all over the world
Everett/ Revere/ East Boston/ Chelsea
Praise: This group was united in same vision to work with people who are improvised
Prayer/ Dream: Pray that all churches would gather together under one purpose
Praise: God is saving many Hindus in Brookline!
Prayer: Pray that God would continue to work within the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and young adult populations.
Dream: We dream that everyone would respect the various streams of Christianity in the city and we would all come under the banner of Jesus
Praise: Many churches in the South End are very active in the community (Starlight, Lion of Judah, more) and there are many new church plants!
Prayer/ Dream: In the South End, there is a large divide between the rich and the poor and tension between people of various socioeconomic backgrounds. Pray for peace and the fullness of God’s shalom.
Jamaica Plain/ Mattapan/ Back Bay
Praise: Crime rates lower than in the past
Prayer: Pray that everyone in the city would have a Christian friend
Dream: We dream that everyone would be able to do the work God created them to do and that this would strengthen and encourage the city
South Shore/ Quincy/ Plymouth/ Randolph
Praise: There is a tremendous movement of new people groups coming to this part of the city, including Brazilians, Haitians, and South Asians
Prayer: As God weaves new fabric, we pray that something new would arise from the old and that God’s movement would become visible
Dream: We dream that the people of God would learn to live with unquenchable expectation that they are part of God’s unstoppable movement. We also pray that the staff, systems and support needed for the South Shore dream is provided.
It’s when we come together that we begin to see how God is working corporately. Truly, God is up to great things in Boston!
What else is God doing in your midst? How else can we be praying for your community?
This morning in my time of prayer, I was struck by the words “At that time, people began to call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).
I believe we are entering into a time where the Lord is inviting us to call on His name.
These past four months, a team has been forming to prepare and plan for 10 Days Boston, an opportunity to set apart a season of seeking God together as the wider of body of Christ, in such a way that moves us beyond the walls of our own local churches, denominations, and ethnic groups.
We have an exciting line-up of churches this year, including a diverse variety of geographical gatherings (Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Fenway, Suburbs) ethnic groups (Indian, Korean) and denominational streams (Catholic, Orthodox, Taize, and Evangelical).
This year’s 10 Days takes place from September 24 to October 4 – Mark your calendars and check out the full schedule here: www.10daysboston.com
Also, click here to watch an update video by Kelly Steinhaus about 10 Days Boston.
But that’s not all we have to be excited about. God is uniting hearts on a national scale! We are in a season where God is stirring hearts all around the nation to the place of prayer. Jonathan Friz, founder of 10 Days, is calling it “Divine Convergence.”
The Call Berkeley, Portland’s “Seven” movement, and 40 Days of Hope are all scheduled to end on October 4th – the same ending day for the 10 days of prayer! What a delight to see how the Holy Spirit has coordinated our schedules!
Convergences like these point to the fact that God is at work and to emphasize the importance of the call and the timing. We believe that God is calling us to unite these movements and form a bridge from West Coast to East Coast – here are some ways as to how you can do that.
Please prayerfully consider:
1. Joining in a nation-wide, 40-day fast from August 26 to October 4th with the 40 Days of Hope
2. Attend one of the six times weekly prayer sets that are taking place at the Justice House of Prayer in Cambridge
3. Come out to the daytime prayer and evening gatherings during 10 Days Boston, beginning on September 24th and concluding at the Boston Night of Worship at Lion of Judah Church on October 4th
God is up to great things – It’s a pleasure and an honor to take part in His kingdom coming in Boston with you!
UniteBoston Team Leader
Special thanks to our friends at the Emmanuel Gospel Center for sponsoring this year’s 10 Days Boston!
Click on this link to watch a playlist of all the updates for 10 Days this year!