This is the Bayside I see. A Bayside so close to God that no one ever attempts to do anything without Him. And a Bayside so close to people that no one ever needs to wonder how to do life without Him.
A Bayside that seeks God, heart, and soul, at all times, with every breath and with every move. In words and in action, prayer permeating every aspect of our church’s calendar, decisions, and gatherings. Prayer before, during, and after all we say and do. Prayer that births, that delivers, that thanks, that breaks the ground of our hearts and communities to make space for God to do whatever He wills, in whichever way He wills it. Prayer that honors Him, prayer that is seen, heard, and effective. Prayer that draws our humanity to the essence of His greatness and sovereignty. Prayer that humbly keeps us confessing what is not of Him to make space for more of Him. Prayer that watches out for His moving. Again, and again. Prayer that leaves us face bowed, eyes lifted, hands open, and arms raised. Always. Visible. Accessible.
A Bayside so close to people that God and God’s people are inextricably woven into the fabric of their lives and community. A Bayside that relentlessly lets God move in us through prayer and the study of His Word so that God can move through us. A Bayside that will respond to whatever call for help, close and far, locally and globally, in prayer, service, and love. An expression of church, God’s Kingdom here on earth, that truly continues to love our neighbors as ourselves, always pursuing great impact even with less comfort in response to prayerful obedience.
For all God gives to us, until He comes for us. This is my prayer for Bayside.
I’m in awe. As I look and listen with intent heaven colliding with earth, here is what I see:
The mom that calls our office to surround herself with praying people when her world caves in. Yes, today, her beloved son was given a multiple-year prison sentence. Nothing she ever dreamt of as she and her husband cradled their gorgeous baby boy for the first time only a few short years ago. Yet God was in that moment, as He is in this one, while she sits, tears of despair turning into tears of hope, in our Prayer Room, reminding herself of God’s promises that she will have to circle and pray through more fervently than she ever thought she’d need to.
The child who walks into that same Prayer Room with his parents and scribbles in uneven letters on a yellow note to stick to our prayer wall, “Pleaz God help me with my speling this yar.”
The students who won’t start their annual conference without dedicating time to God in prayer as they walk their campus to cover every aspect of this huge event that is about to radically unleash their peers in their walk with God.
The couple who make their way to the Prayer Room right after the Marriage Conference, to hollow out a space for grace in their complicated covenant relationship, as they bring out a majestic diamond ring that hasn’t been on her finger for many months, and ask if they can together make a new start before God in prayer. Holy. Restoration.
The soon-to-be eighty-year-old saint who boldly sets out to lead our Breakaway Prayer Team and watches in amazement as God answers the most unlikely requests overnight, day after day, week after week. Holy. Excitement.
One of our more recent parolees from our Folsom Prison Campus who chose to spend his first hour of freedom at Bayside and pens these words in our Prayer Room journal, “I could not think of a better place to begin my new life than here.” Holy. New beginnings.
The staff that intentionally gathers, shoulder to shoulder, to lift each other up to God in prayer.
The team that faithfully prays every Saturday as services begin.
The multitudes of Baysiders who humbly submit their prayer requests to God every weekend.
The parents who email in because they want to learn how to pray for their children.
The woman who reserves the Prayer Room 6 days a week to pray. For months on end.
Expectant. Faithful. Watchful. Grateful.
Prayer changes me, and it changes my world—for the better! Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4). Interestingly enough, right after these words, is where we find this most awe-inspiring line: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Let’s be found asking Him—as together we thank God for all He has done in Bayside’s astounding past and look ahead to all He is yet to do!