Last week, the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference on the 29th ballot elected as Bishop our own Dr. Young Jin Cho, District Superintendent of the Arlington District. Then, later that same night, breaking a tradition of Bishops always being assigned a conference other than home, Bishop Cho was assigned to the Virginia Conference.
What an amazing turn of events that could only be a movement from God.
As you learn more about our new Bishop, you will read a lot about his accomplishments but what I admire most about our new Bishop is his deep commitment to a life of prayer.
The prayer Bishop Cho chose as his focus while preparing over the last few months is a very short one written by Bobby Richardson.
Within his testimony, Bishop Cho wrote this story: “How Earnestly Do You Pray?”
It happened during a planning meeting in 1997. One of the participants asked me a question: “During this year we learned many things about prayer. Pastor Cho preached on prayer, and all small groups studied about prayer. But I have a question about the prayer life of our pastors. How long and earnestly do you pray?” The person who asked was known for being critical. I was not happy about this blunt question. I said to myself, “Lord, do I have to disclose my prayer life to others? I am doing my best. You know my spiritual life.”
But after that day, I could not forget the question: “How long and earnestly do you pray?” It bothered me a lot. I began to feel the need for more prayer in my heart. I decided to begin early morning prayer in the tradition of the Korean church. Every morning I went to church at 6am and knelt down before the Lord. Gradually, I came to see my spiritual life more clearly. One morning I could not control the tears streaming from my eyes. The Lord graciously helped me to see the real picture of my spiritual life. I confessed, “Lord, I preached to the congregation to pray hard, but I did not pray hard. When some of the members asked me to pray for them, I did not pray faithfully and earnestly for their requests. I did not pray longer, deeper and harder. I repent of my laziness in my prayer life.”
God woke me up by using the comment of a critical person. This experience became another turning point in my spiritual journey and ministry. Soon the church started early morning prayer meetings daily (except Sundays). The Lord blessed us as our church continued to grow spiritually, numerically and financially even in the midst of its building project.
Dear God… Your will, Nothing more, Nothing less, Nothing else.
Bishop Cho will be a great conference leader but I know that he will need help and support from all of us and from our churches. I also know that Bishop Cho will spend a lot of time on his knees in prayer as part of his preparation for the years to come.
At some point, I expect to hear this question: “How earnestly do you pray?”
Will you join me over the next few weeks by renewing our commitment to earnest prayer?
If you are a part of our Virginia Conference, you can pray for Bishop Cho as he prepares to lead. We can pray individually as leaders and pastors and collectively as churches.
We can all pray for God’s guidance and for courage as we seek together to become the disciples God desires.
Dear God… Your will, Nothing more, Nothing less, Nothing else. Amen.