Daily Devotion Tuesday, November 10, 2015
This week our daily devotions will be reflecting on the vision of my church, which is "To Know Jesus & Show Jesus"--a vision that was outlined in last week's sermon entitled, "Knowing & Showing: What It Means To Be Us" Every day this week we'll be focusing on our five core values (Worship, Pray, Grow, Love and Serve)--values that enable us to pursue our vision. If you would like to read the transcript of the sermon, click HERE.
Today we're going to spend some time talking about the second core value of my church: Pray.
Yesterday morning a small group of church members gathered with me for what has become a weekly time of prayer for our church, our community, and for one another. We call it our "One Hour of Prayer," but I have to make a confession--the name is a bit misleading. We don't actually spend the entire hour praying.
For at least thirty minutes of our "one hour" prayer meeting, we shared our thoughts over a verse I read from the Bible application on my phone, and then let our conversation drift into deeper thoughts of life and faith. We also told some stories, laughed, and drew closer together as a group.
Eventually, we felt it was time to formally pray, and so we took our prayer list and prayed over the requests from our church out loud, taking turns offering up intercessions on behalf of our church family, friends, our community and our world.
After we finished, I remarked on how much time we spent talking and sharing. It had occurred to me that there was something special about that time--something that was absolutely necessary.
If we had just walked in the door, coffee in hand, grabbed our prayer lists and started rattling off prayers--it would have seemed wooden, hollow, disconnected and somehow just not authentic. But because we shared, because we laughed, told stories and connected with one another, the time we spent speaking grace and peace over the names on our prayer list just felt---right.
Could it be that the reason we felt right about our time of prayer is because we were created to desire connection? And since (as Christians believe) we are created in the image of God, wouldn't it stand to reason that God also desires connection?
I have this feeling that prayer is so much more than the actual moment when we give voice to what we would classify as "prayers." And I also believe that our prayers to God are more than petitions or moments of thanksgiving. They are more than the scant minutes we spend bowing our heads, gazing to the sky, kneeling or whatever it is that we do when we think we are praying.
I have this notion that prayer is also all of those moments during the day when we admire God's handiwork in Creation, when we laugh with a joy that comes from deep within us, when we tell God how we are feeling, talk to God about our hopes, dreams, fears or just how our day is going. In other words--all of the moments where we connect with the One who created us to be connected to one another and to Him.
May you connect with God today in prayer--tell God your stories, marvel at the beauty of His world, share your feelings, your laughter, all of it. May you pray in all moments, in an infinite variety of ways, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.