What do bowed heads and offering plates have in common? This is not a profound riddle, nor is the answer deep and opaque.

Actually, there are two answers. The first is that both are visible signs of important Christian practices–prayer and stewardship. We bow our heads when we pray. We place our offering in the plate when it is passed. Prayer and stewardship are spiritual practices that go all the way back to Jesus. As a devout Jew he prayed and tithed.

The second answer is that bowing our heads and giving our money are two prominent features of October at River Road Church, Baptist.

Most of us do not give enough attention to prayer. We are busy people, and prayer requires us to slow down and get quiet. To help us rediscover the value of private prayer, I have invited Dr. Peter James Flamming, retired pastor at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, to lead us in a four-week study titled “Learning to Pray Again.” Beginning Wednesday, October 3, Dr. Flamming will guide us in ways we can reignite the power of prayer in our lives. His sessions will meet on October 3, 10, 17 and 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Adult Assembly room. There is no fee for this refresher, and I know it will be interesting and helpful.

As is our custom at River Road Church, October marks our annual stewardship emphasis. Stewardship is more than money, of course. It includes the ways we handle all things entrusted to us, which includes time and talents as well as money. Now is the time to begin thinking about how you will use the material resources God has given to you. We invite you to make a pledge, an intention to follow through on a promise, toward our 2013 church budget. It is an opportunity for you to grow in your material stewardship as well as our way of determining what we can plan to do in the coming year. October 28 is Commitment Sunday.

October is a month to learn to pray again, and to give again. It is an occasion to practice, with bowed heads and offering plates, what we say we believe.

by Mike Clingenpeel
Originally published in the October 2012 Explorer.