Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Importance of Prayer

Every Wednesday morning from 9:30 am to 10:00 am a small group of people come to the Oasis prayer room. We hear a short devotional from one of the pastors and then pray. It's also been great lately to have the "21 Eye Opening Days" Devotionals written by our own church family to use like we did this last Wednesday. We pray for the world, our community, Christ's Church, our faith community, and for those we know in need of God's healing and comfort. It's a great place to come and learn about prayer through the devotions and also through practice. It is always a great encouragement to me to know that we are a church of prayer. 

I know, through regular interactions with people, that not only do we pray together on Wednesday mornings but that our people pray without ceasing! People pray in life groups, in Children's and Youth Ministries, on their own, before, after, and during our services. We have a list of people that receive updates weekly on prayer concerns and those willing to be contacted at any hour of the night to pray!

Lately I've been reading through the book "Approaching God: How to Pray" by Steve Brown. It's the same book that Pastor Michael taught a class on Prayer from a little over a year ago and I highly recommend it. I recently finished chapter 5 and thought I would share two insights that Dr. Brown has:

 1.) "For some people there is a call - a drawing - for a deeper and much more intimate walk with God" and there are "those who have not been called to that kind of prayer." Sometimes we might feel guilty because we don't pray as much as we feel we ought to. It is important to remember there are different gifts and callings within the body of Christ. We're not called to be experts and deeply gifted in EVERY area! What a relief! "Prayer is, of course, a necessary part of one's Christian life but, for some, there is no felt need (other than the false guilt from other believers) to go any further. Simple prayer sustains and motivates, and it is as natural as breathing. That kind of simple prayer, for most Christians, is sufficient and adequate."

2.) Don't underestimate the importance and power of prayer. "It is said that when George Whitefield would preach (Whitefield was the 'spark' that ignited the Great Awakening in America in the eighteenth century), back in the hotel room there was an elderly crippled man who traveled with him and who was praying for him. Nobody knows the man's name. He isn't ever mentioned in the history books and those hundreds of thousands of people who were touched with the supernatural power of the ministry of George Whitefield weren't even aware of him. But if you are looking for someone, other than God, who was responsible for the Great Awakening, don't look so much to George Whitefield - look to the little man who prayed."

Why do I write all this? To remind us, and myself mostly, of the importance of prayer. I'm so thankful for those of you who have prayed for our family, prayed for the ministry of Trinity, and for those dear to us like Anthony Cerasale. Whether you are called to a simple or a deeper prayer life, "pray without ceasing"! (1 Thessalonians 5:17).