NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID GRASS VALLEY, CA PERMIT NO. 60
Christian Encounter Ministries PO Box 1022 Grass Valley, CA 95945 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
Christian Encounter Ministries August 2012
Tending Lives…Training Leaders Since 1970 Christian Encounter Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational, residential program helping 16- to 25-year-olds by providing love, spiritual guidance, high school education, counseling, and 24-hour supervision. Internships are offered to qualifying upper level college students and graduates. Contact us at: www.ChristianEncounter.org cem@ChristianEncounter.org 530-268-0877
Pray-outs galore! Ember (Dec. ’11) Micah ( June ’12) Michael (Aug. ’12) Alexa (Sept. ’12) Toreigh (Oct. ’12)
From L: Toreigh, Ember, Micah, Michael, Alexa (bottom)
By Mike Petrillo, Executive Director We are not sure when the first CEM “Pray In” occurred. In fact, I am confident that the first time we prayed for a new staff member, intern, or student, we just prayed. We didn’t identify it as something unique at all. We just prayed. When people left Christian Encounter Ministries, we asked for God’s protection and blessing, and often added our tears and words of love and encouragement as they moved on from what has always been the “Ranch family.” Sometime along the way those tears and the sense of approval that went with sending family members to the next step in their walk with the Lord took on a title—being Prayed Out. And so, logically, everyone who comes to CEM must be Prayed In! We Pray In on the first Sunday after one’s arrival, surrounding our newest family member with simple, direct prayers. We express our belief that God the Father knows them and that He brought them here, and, therefore, we have confidence that this will be a time of purpose, healing, restoration and growth. So begins everyone’s stay at Christian Encounter, with prayers of faith for God’s powerful work in each one. I asked several people for a few words of description about Praying In. Following are their insights: “It was special because I knew I was immediately part of the family.” “I felt very grateful to be accepted.” “I knew people really wanted me.” “It was real encouraging to be welcomed in the family and to feel acceptance and love while they were praying.” “There was “The Ranch family looks forward an immediacy of blessing, it was peaceful and I knew I was going to be walking in this.” “It was cool to be acknowledged as a new to each Pray Out as a symbol of person, but to know that you’re not an outsider any more.” “PrayGod’s triumphant grace.” ing in was an official joining of the family.” “Finally I had a family in Christ who did pray, who did care, who would be there for me.” “I knew for sure that I was supposed to be here.” Praying In changes the status, changes relationships, changes the future, changes the experience of being a lonely stranger to one who belongs and is connected. Praying In produces a spiritual condition, an interpersonal condition, and an emotional condition. In just a few short moments, prayer changes lives! In another profound way, Praying Out has come to mean more than we ever imagined it would. From our first day here, we strive toward reaching the goal of being Prayed Out. Prayed on might be a more accurate label, since you can never really leave the Ranch family, but that distinction is incidental to the process. Being Prayed Out means hitting the finish line of an arduous race. Paul recognized this symbol in several athletic references to describe the Christian life. Praying Out is not the final finish line, but perhaps a first finish line. It represents placing a life in God’s hands—one that He is still crafting as His unique workmanship (Eph. 2:10)—celebrating a stage completed and a new stage just ahead. The Ranch family looks forward to each Pray Out as a symbol of God’s triumphant grace. We are blessed to watch the progress, cheer those in the race, nurture the faint of heart, and stir up the unused potential. Some recent thoughts: “Praying out was a surreal time of ending.” “It is a joyful sense of accomplishment! I got so much out of being at CEM.” “I felt completion and accomplishment, like I had done what I was called to do.” “It was encouraging to be surrounded by prayer and to not stress about my future.” I read about Paul’s Pray In by the Christian leaders in Acts 13 and his triple Pray Out years later as he bade farewell to the churches. Acts 20 and 21 record how the Ephesian elders knelt together in prayer with Paul; then the whole churches of Tyre and Caesarea gathered on separate occasions to pray for and love Paul as he passed through on his voyage to Jerusalem. Our Pray In and Out pattern has that Biblical base. The first century church, inspired by the Lord’s disciples, prepared Paul to begin his missionary journeys with prayer. Decades later, at the completion of Paul’s work, it was natural to see a gathering of prayer to say goodbye, to express affection, to proclaim faith together about God’s purposes for the future. Praying Out or Praying In, it is the New Testament way. How blessed we are to carry on the traditions of Jesus’ church. It is not for tradition sake, but as a vehicle of fellowship, power, comfort, and encouragement. It ������������������������������������������������������������ proves to be that special time when Jesus comes close ������������������������������������������� to us and walks and talks with the children he loves.