Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO LIKE TO PRAY?

Prayer doesn't seem to be a discipline which comes natural to most; at least it didn't to me.  During my tenure in preaching school and then as a minister in a local work, prayer was a basic bore and church ritual to me.  I simply didn't care for it.

I know.  I know I was to be the example.......but I wasn't.  I didn't like praying. 

The reason I didn't (I later discovered) is because in school we had been grounded in the doctrine that God wasn't active among His people any longer.  It was "our" work, "our" effort, and "our" meritorious assertions that mattered.  God was basically done and it was now up to us.

My understanding shifted for the better.  I gradually began to realize God is active among and within His people today.  Therefore, I began to want to pray because I saw a connection between spending time with Him and seeing Him do the work.  God actually engages in our work!  How amazing!

Tonight Memorial divvied up the adults into four arenas of prayer; one being in my office where six of us prayed for an hour.  On Sunday mornings another five of us will meet at 7:30 to pray for an hour for our day.  Sunday evenings our small group meets to spend another hour praying; usually dividing into three groups because of the number in attendance.

Praying draws members together like nothing else I observe.  It is the best thing in ministry to create cohesion, understanding, and harmony.  Believing God works among us is what motivated me to change my attitude toward prayer and such might help others to adjust in the same fashion.

4 comments:

Greg England said...

A couple of observations ... Having grown up in the same teaching, that makes sense. Why pray if God is not involved? I also struggled with prayer because I never talked with my Dad about much of anything, so the concept of talking with a Father was foreign to me. Had God been presented in Scripture as our Heavenly Mother, I would have connected far more with prayer.

Second, when I took conflict resolution training through Pepperdine School of Law, we were told to encourage a church to come up with a number (estimated) of how many hours have been spent talking about the issue. This would include phone calls, over-the-fence gossip, discussions at church, etc. Then that church was told to spend at least the same amount of time in prayer WITH one another as they have spent discussing the issue and talking about one another.

Prayer within a community is am amazing and powerful thing.

Lita said...

Greg brings up an interesting observation. On occasion, I have been involved in prayer groups where the majority of time was spent discussing the people, issues, and situations and a very small amount of time spent actually praying (of which I am often equally guilty). Almost like we had to first analyze and discuss solutions and then lay out the game plan for God.

Greg England said...

Lisa: Talking about rather than praying for a person was a problem in elder's meetings. After all the discussion, when the prayer was finally offered, all the details had to be repeated back to God ... as if He was clueless as to what was going on! "Dear God, bless Bro. Smith, who is suffering from cancer (and then the specific location of the cancer) and is now in Room 243 of Memorial Hospital on the corner of Main and 24th street . . . ." It drove me nuts!

Greg England said...

Excuse me ... that should have been Lita, not Lisa. My tri-focals are acting up on me.