Imagine you visit a church for their mid-week prayer service. Walking in the front door you notice the spacious sanctuary, dark and empty. Down one hall, there’s light coming from an open door. You hear the unmistakeable sound of people praying.
Entering the smallish room, you are surprised to find only a handful of the church’s faithful. And what are they praying for? You read the prayer requests on the white board: “Bob has cancer. Theresa had a heart attack. Deacon Sam is under hospice care.“
“This is well and good,” you say to yourself. “But is that all?
Fellow blogger Gary Fultz commented on one of my recent posts, “Safe prayers are dangerous.” Immediately, I thought of how the corporate prayer ministries of many churches are a mile wide and an inch deep.
Shallow prayers are relatively “safe,”after all. I mean, who could be offended by them? But this also makes them dangerous. Because if it’s all we do, are we truly covering God’s Kingdom work?
WAIT. Hold the presses! I read a first draft of this post to my wife and she said, “Sweetheart, you’ve described a problem but offer no solution. “Well, uh….,” that’s me talking.
“So, how do YOU pray?” she asked. (Please imagine the sound of crickets chirping).🦗🦗🦗 I had no immediate response. Most of my prayers aren’t all that deep, either.
“Ok, how did Jesus pray?” she followed. 🦗🦗🦗 Despite being a former seminarian, I drew an almost complete blank. All that came to mind was The Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6:9-13. Well, it was a good start.
A little biblical digging revealed that Jesus said prayers of adoration, like when He praised God for revealing Himself to ordinary people (Matthew 11:25-27).
Christ also offered up prayers of intercession, like His High Priestly Prayer (John 17:1-26). Here, He prays for Himself–that He will complete His mission–and for His followers–that they will live in complete unity. Why? So that the world will know God sent Him.
Lastly, Jesus said prayers of thanksgiving, like when he thanked God for hearing His prayer to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11: 41.42). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Perhaps you can add to it?
Oops, I’ve rambled on for over 400 words. That’s not like me! I’m usually “Hemingway like” in my succinctness. Perhaps the following scripture sums up what I hope to say, after all.
For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.Isaiah 56:7b (NASB)
Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️ prayers and love