Been there, done this? A friend and I got together to pray, or so we thought. We chatted a while, and then began to talk about what we were going to pray about, staying on topic most of the time. Sadly, by the time we’d finish talking, there was no time left to actually pray.
Enter one of my favorite old books: Prayer: Conversing with God, by Rosalind Rinker. The title alone is a game changer. When we pray, how often do we remember that prayer is a conversation with God? It’s not a show for those around us, or an exercise in using big words, holy language or pious thought, but a chance to talk with the Lord who loves us.
Rosalind suggests that prayer groups cut to the chase: No lengthy pre-prayer lists of requests. No assigning of each request to an individual responsible for praying about it out loud. (Do you, like me, find yourself distracted by pressure to remember all the details?) Instead she offers this advice.
- Bear in mind that when we gathered to pray, the Lord is right there with us. Go directly to prayer.
- Let each person that knows of a need bring it up to the One who has the answers.
- Since this is a conversation that includes everyone in the room, go ahead and stop midway through the prayer and add any significant information for those in the room who are not in the know.
- Let several people pray, or add information, regarding each need, just as you would in any other conversation.
- And by all means, feel free to pray more than once and in any order!
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” When my friend and I got together, we knew the Lord was there. Next time, though, we’ll include him in the conversation right away.
I welcome your comments. Have you ever prayed this way? How did it work for you? Do you think your next prayer group would be willing to give it a try?
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