How hard is it to pray?

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer recently and how it fits into church life.   Having just got back from a prayer ministry seminar – which is one aspect of a praying church – I found this very challenging comment on Mike Betts’ blog:

I have found a surprising thing in recent years; prayer is not hard. In fact it is the most natural and easy thing to do for the Christian. Agreed our flesh often finds trouble concentrating etc. But as Jesus observed in a prayer meeting of sleeping disciples. ‘The spirit is willing the flesh is weak’.

 

We have begun to experiment in church life this year. For a start we cancelled all prayer meetings! Why?, because I do not want a church with a prayer meeting but rather I want us to be a praying church. Prayer meetings in most churches have the reputation as being for the ‘keen ones’. This should not be.

 

I had a hunch that for most people even being in the atmosphere of a prayer meeting was foreign to them and the thought of praying out loud in such a setting, quite scary!

 

So we moved the prayer meeting to the people. For a number of months now we schedule into a Sunday morning main meeting a 5-10 minutes prayer slot called ‘Touching heaven / changing Earth’. As encouraged to do in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 we pick items of local, national or international news or concern and pray about one such item each week, all together. We use various structures for prayer for example asking different folk before the meeting to lead us from the front.

 

Having done it for some time now, I am convinced the atmosphere and connection with prayer through the whole church is growing and becoming more familiar and comfortable. Additionally we have seen numbers of prayers answered.

 

We also now run weeks of prayer quarterly which are a mixture of hourly prayer slots people sign up for and corporate evenings of prayer. These have been growing in numbers and participation.

 

Our latest addition into the adventure of prayer discovery corporately started this Friday past. From 6-45 to 8-00am we pray together, and then from 8-9am we have breakfast. I decided that this setting gave us as elders a chance to share our hearts for what we see God doing and hear him saying at present and pray into it. 25 came to the first one and we had an excellent time.

Mike Betts

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