My husband and I are in our 60s and have been part of Praxeis for a few years.
It all began with a dream…
“I was attending a banquet at Buckingham Palace. The setting was sumptuous, as you would expect. Just before the meal began I noticed a small door leading outside and went to investigate. It led to a dark, dirty area with cobblestones and rubbish blowing about, where two poor people were huddled over a small fire trying to cook some food for themselves.
I returned to the splendid banqueting room, and although none of the royal family were present, the meal started. Just before I was served I knew I had to go back outside. My friends tried to persuade me to stay but I went anyway. Outside I was surprised to see the Queen and her family had set up tables laden with food and were enjoying a meal with the poor people I had seen earlier. It was a joyful and intimate occasion, unlike the grand banquet going on inside.”
I think what God was showing me was that within the setting of the church we have everything to enjoy. Yet the place of greatest intimacy with God is out in the dark, dirty world where people are trying to feed themselves, but can’t. That’s where His heart is, and He invites us to join Him there.
We have spent many years looking for the fulfilment of this dream, trying to invite others into the church and being involved in church planting along more traditional lines. We love church!
Then a group started prayer walking Melbourne’s western suburbs, and we joined in; a team went up to pray for Western Sydney and we went along. This group, now known as Praxeis, captured our hearts- we wanted to be part of it. We felt irresistibly attracted to what God was doing – sending people out into the world to make disciples among cultures and communities who would not, or should not, be squashed into our complicated western church culture. Stripping the gospel back to an obedient relationship with God which can infiltrate cultures, bring about change and lead to multiplication.
We became more involved in praying for Praxeis but of course that led to change in us.
We are very “churchy” – it’s been woven into our DNA for decades. At times we felt we were doing the splits trying to hang on to our well loved church culture while also becoming more committed to this new wine skin of God’s. Gently but insistently we felt God prodding us to take a step of faith, to be willing to change and adapt.
So at the beginning of this year we stepped out of “big church”, and have been meeting each week to pray, to give thanks, to use the Discovery Bible study method to read through the book of Acts, and to start to obey what God shows us. It still sometimes feels a little crazy- but we believe it’s God. He has used this time to slowly but surely unpack the excess baggage we carry, that clouds the gospel we share with others. We trust Him and it has been a time of great intimacy with Him. We are changing and growing and learning lots. We are learning to pray. Learning how to step alongside people without judging or coming in as “experts” on faith. Learning to listen to others and how to look for a “person of peace” who will become an inside leader of their community. We have so much to learn- but suddenly the harvest field looks full of possibilities.
Friends have asked us: “what is Praxeis? Where can we find it?” I think Jesus fielded a similar question with: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). It’s a God- led, organic, evolving movement, continuously changing and adapting to what God is doing and saying- just like the early church in Acts. You could look for it and find it looks different in every culture. It’s the gospel as a guerilla movement, embedded and led within many different communities. God holds the master plan- all we can do is pray, obey, and trust God with the outcomes.
Someone once said “Faith is spelled: RISK”. We want to be people willing to take this risk. It’s never too late. We long for God to use us however he can, even and especially in our senior years.
Jill Price is the pray co-ordinator for Praxeis. Jill and her husband Dave, love to pray and have been really influential in helping us learn to pray and grow in our passion to pray. For someone reason, whenever Dave prays there always seems to be a big shout at the end of it! He blames the ‘Primitive methodist syndrome’. (Check out his book – Turning the world upside down.)
Great testimony. So often we look at others and say – “if only that was me…. Why isn’t God doing that with me?” Well He is no respector of persons (!) He will if we are willing and step out in faith. Am I talking to myself?!