In Luke’s Gospel, there are many references to Jesus at prayer. We are counseled by Matthew to “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret.” James Montgomery once wrote, “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, unuttered or expressed, the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast.”
At its most basic, prayer is simply speaking with God and listening for God’s voice. Prayer is relationship with God. Prayer is most often personal and private. “Father, hallowed be thy name; your kingdom come, your will be done; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”
Leonard Sweet once spoke of transforming his prayer life by simply deleting a comma. Instead of “Please, God,” his prayers are now in the form of “Please God,” meaning, how can God’s purposes be fulfilled in my life? I know that it is a challenge in our day to slow down and take time to talk to God. And of course, prayer is also a challenge for us because in our “instant gratification” culture, we expect prayer to produce instant results. Our tendency is to rely on human ingenuity and resourcefulness rather than turn to God. We are a skeptical culture.
My thoughts are centering on prayer today because on April 9, MHBC will be sponsoring a viewing of the movie, “War Room.” I am praying for this event, and I invite you to do so as well. Pray that many from our community will come and be touched by the message the film relates. Better still, invite someone to come and view the film with you! I have not personally seen this movie myself, but I understand that it is a powerful witness to the power of prayer, so I encourage everyone’s attendance.
A Native American tradition has it that on a boy’s 13th birthday he was placed in a dense forest to spend the night. Following an anxious, fearful, and sleepless night, and as the sun rises, the boy sees the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow; it was the boy’s father, who had been there all night long.
Though it may not seem like it at times, God is always near, ready to listen and respond to our prayers. Keep on praying! Keep on trusting! Prayer can change the world; prayer can change our church and prayer can change our lives! I look forward to seeing you on the 9th.
“O Thou by whom we come to God, the Life, the Truth, the Way! The path of prayer itself has trod; Lord teach us how to pray!”
Love and peace, Pastor Joel
Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell