Lately a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot is prayer. Prayer is this unique communication tool that can bring all different kinds of people together. It’s been something done by just about every religion throughout history, from the Israelites and Egyptians on to Christians and Muslims today. I thought I’d start off by sharing a few thoughts on prayer from others:
“Express to God the deep desires of your heart and your real emotions. Tell God of your trouble, even if you have had a hand in bringing it about. Honest prayer is a mark of intimacy. It is a characteristic of a relationship that is authentic and real.” Br. David Vryhof
“[Church is] where you learn how to pray. Of course, prayer is continued and has alternate forms when you’re by yourself. But the American experience has the order reversed. In the long history of Christian spirituality, community prayer is most important, then individual prayer.” Eugene Peterson
“When you pray for anyone, you tend to modify your personal attitude toward them.” Norman Vincent Peale
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Prayer is a gift, an opportunity and a challenge. It can be done in groups or by ourselves. Prayer can be vocal and it can be silent. Prayer can be about praising, reflecting or supplication. We can pray about ourselves and others. But perhaps most importantly, like any other tool, it must be used to have any effect. You can’t put it on a shelf, you can’t take it out once a year, you can’t rely on others to do it. It’s something you need to be doing on a regular basis if you want to see results or be able to call yourself someone who prays.
This week I encourage you to make time for prayer, for focused and specific prayer. You can continue doing the “popcorn prayers” and other brief thoughts, but set aside time to really work on your prayer life and establishing that relationship between you and God and you, others and God.