Friday, March 09, 2012
1. A prayerful community is a healthy community
I was at a meeting earlier this year where the leader of a big church said that they were moving towards there people never being more 24 hours away from the opportunity to participate in an organised prayer event of some shape or form, I thought this was excellent.
He was building prayer into the life of the church. I know there is a responsibility for us to have our own personal, disciplined, responsible prayer lives, but when you are part of a community that places high value on prayer it cannot help but affect you. The Macro affects the Micro and vice versa.
That is the reason I think 24-7prayer has been so successful it has given the body of Christ a tool which they can take, individualise and adapt to fit their local setting which in turn facilitates and encourages prayer. 24-7 prayer helps the church to pray.
Of course it is not the only way and really our heart is not on selling a model it is that people and communities pray. I don't care if you never have a 24-7 prayer room, I care that you pray.
A healthy community will have a healthy corporate prayer life but will also be full of people who have healthy personal prayer lives.
A few brief simple thoughts on prayer they are not meant to patronise you and this is not a comprehensive list:
Do you set regular time aside on a daily basis to pray? Pete Greig says that a remote control and an alarm clock would be your greatest tools in this. I would also hasten to add the ability to turn your computer/ipad/smart phone off.
Do you fast? Jesus did, start small, but at some point you should be looking to do 3 days without food!
Do you practice petition and perseverance? Write it down, keep a notebook, don't give up! Don't let the instant culture we live in shape us.
Get to prayer events, attend prayer meetings, read about prayer, educate yourself, learn about prayer, this will all help you.
One last thing: I have noticed over the years that participating in a prayer room is a wonderful time, but it can be a very individual and quiet time, often spending an hour, contemplating, painting, writing, talking or ranting on your own. We have to be careful this doesn't cause us to lose the ability to pray out loud with others, there is power in the prayer of agreement, I can't agree with you if I can't hear you!
Healthy communities and churches will have healthy prayer lives.