Following a Sunday morning service, a man said to his friend, “I’ll bet you can’t recite the Lord’s Prayer.” The other man responded, “Yes, I can! Listen: ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep …'”
“Wow!” said the first man, stunned. “I was sure you wouldn’t know it!”
Do you remember how you learned to pray? Did it start at your bedside or at the table? Was church the place you first began to pray? Was it a crisis that brought you to your knees? Was there a moment of awe and wonder that made you shout for joy and pray with praise?
Sometimes I think we make it more difficult than it needs to be. Prayer should be so natural. The psalmist wrote, “I love the Lord because He has heard my appeal for mercy. Because He has turned His ear to me, I will call out to Him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:1,2).
It is just that simple. God loves each of us like He loves all of us. He cares about His children. He invites us into an intimate relationship with Him. He wants us to share our lives, our hopes, our fears, our needs, our hurts for our sake. He knows. He really does.
Jim Cymbala noted: “I have discovered an astonishing truth. God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him.”
The week ahead offers us opportunities to pray in private and together in community. Prayer should happen naturally in a fellowship of believers. It should be characterized by expectancy and confidence. We approach the throne of grace boldly, said the writer of Hebrews (4:16). Robert Smith wrote: “You want prayer to be something that’s a powerful expression of faith and belief that God can touch those around you.” Prayer changes us as we pray for things to change. Here are some key factors for praying churches:
- Praying churches experience breakthroughs – barriers are torn down, pathways are cleared, new directions are forged
- Praying churches have praying leaders – leaders must first be followers who seek the true Leader
- Praying churches anticipate answers – stories are told, answers are celebrated, a climate of expectation is fostered
- Praying churches attempt great things for God – when God’s people pray, God works. When God works, transformation occurs
It’s time to pray!