Baltimore, church, Holy Spirit, worship

When We Gather: Prayer

If I am to follow Jesus, then the simple fact of the matter is I must seek to pray like Jesus prayed. And this is no small thing. Perhaps I am alone on this, but it seems that the conversation on prayer too rarely goes back to the model that Jesus set (with the exclusion of the “Lord’s Prayer”). I love how Jesus offered that example when asked how one should pray. But I am also intrigued as to how Jesus modeled prayer throughout his life

He was a good Jew. He most likely went through the daily prayers like the others during his time. We, as a Gallery family, have started doing something called “Daily Windows” (taken from Daniel 6) where we enter into this pattern of stopping to recognize God’s presence to be reminded of our dependence on Him. And I know through my conversations with others, that this has been incredible for us. I am excited for this coming week as we step into more times to pray and fast together as a family.

However, Jesus prayed outside of those times as well. He would spend much time in solitude to pray. He begged his followers to pray with him before he was to be crucified. He prayed before choosing his disciples. He sent up random prayers of gratefulness to the Father. He talked to God as a son to his father; with respect and intimacy.

To put it in one hyphenated word, Jesus life was prayer-soaked. And mine isn’t. And if you were to be honest, yours probably isn’t either. It is one of the areas that we can never get to the point of complete satisfaction. I don’t think I can ever say with complete honesty that I pray enough because my prayer life is directly proportionate to how much I think I have to depend on God.

Raymond Brown puts it this way, “To be prayerless is to be guilty of the worst form of practical atheism. We are saying that we believe in God but we can do without him. It makes us careless about our former sins and heedless of our immediate needs.”

I would add to this by saying even if we are content in the state of our prayer life (and not seeking to grow in it), we may be guilty of the same form of atheism.

I want to pray for the things that Jesus prayed about. And I want to be serious about those same things. I have struggled lately with getting caught up in some secondary issues in Scripture as I have been studying the past few weeks (hence the gap since my last post). Not that these things are bad, but I have been convicted of the fact that I am not concerning myself with one of the big things that Jesus prayed for: unity. This is another topic for another day/post, but consider the following things and ask, “When is the last time I prayed for this?” It has been revealing for me.
-protection for all believers
-unity for all believers (likened to the unity between Jesus and the Father)
-believers having the full measure of joy
-sanctify them in the truth
-that the world may believe in Jesus because of our unity
-that the world will see our love and, thus, see God’s love
-Your will be done
-daily bread for everyone
-forgive all our sins
-the power to forgive others in the same way

The list could go on. How do you pray? How should we pray? Is this a struggle for you?


2 thoughts on “When We Gather: Prayer

  1. I used to approach prayer in a much different way than I do now. I always thought the purpose was to spend a bit of time praying for specific issues and then something magical would happen to change the problems I was facing. This rarely worked out how I expected. In this current season, I’m realizing that sometimes prayer is less about getting God to take action and more about pausing to reflect on what is happening around me and see things more clearly than I can when I’m in the thick of it. I’m realizing that time alone is much better for me than I ever thought because I am able to see things more clearly. Maybe this is God’s way of speaking to me. Either way, that time of solitude is important and modeled by Jesus, whether you call it prayer, meditation, or just plain time alone. I could certainly benefit from more of it in my life.

    • Thanks for this, Colter. I have found that my own approach to prayer is constantly changing as well. I would definitely say, though, that I think something “magical” does happen and God does take action. However, the key difference is the location of the action. We ask God to take action “out there” with “them”, but more often, he changes us…be it ever so subtly. I see a lot of Jesus spending time just communing with God. This is where the “magic” happens. The action is taken within us. So then, we can be ok with God doing what God does, but he is doing something really huge in us, in those seemingly small moments of solitude. Perhaps this should take primacy in our prayer before we even get to the specific issues and asking for external change.
      Much love for you, friend!

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