The Power of Prayer
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18
How many of you have said bedtime prayers with your children at night or remember saying them with your parents when you were a child? How many of you have family mealtime prayers? How many of you have joined in prayers with a group during a worship service or small group gathering for our country, church, or world? How often have you offered up a spontaneous prayer while driving in the car or when you or someone you cared about were in a time of need?
Why do we pray? Well, we know that Jesus didn’t invent prayer, but he modeled prayer and even taught us how to pray. He wanted us to know that we had direct access to God. No longer was it necessary to go through a priest to pray on our behalf. He himself became our great High Priest, so that we could have a personal relationship with God.
I know that I started praying with my daughter at night because she was afraid, and we would pray that God would protect her and surround her with his angels and give her peace. My parents taught me to pray before meals (even when in restaurants), so that I would have a larger sense of thankfulness for the provision that God provides to us. When we pray for and with others who are journeying through times of challenge or adversity we have been told many accounts of the comfort, encouragement, and strength it provides. I do not think that we pray because our prayers are necessary for God to choose whether to act or not. I believe that the God who knows all things has already anticipated and planned to act in the ways that he knows will draw us towards him and healing and wholeness either in this life or the one to come. I think that the prayers we offer to God are necessary for our benefit, to remind us to acknowledge our need for God, our place before him, and to help us to grow in our mindfulness of communication with him and awareness of him in relationship.
Because if this purpose, I believe prayer should be an active practice of our faith and of our daily living.
If you are seeking to grow in your practice of prayer I will be continuing this article next month with some ways to stretch yourself in your conversation with God. For now there is one opportunity I want to encourage you to consider to engage in the practice of mindful prayerfulness with another from HCLC as our youth and leaders attend the National Lutheran Youth Gathering this month. We would like for each attendee to have a prayer partner. This is a person who will make their partner a send off goodie bag with little treats, toiletries, and diversions for departure day. Include in the bag a card sharing a bit about yourself and a favorite Bible passage. You will receive a daily itinerary for the group so you can focus your prayers each day. You will also receive a postcard from your partner and the opportunity to meet with them as we celebrate their return at our congregational picnic on July 26.
Please let me know if you are willing to serve in this role. I know that the blessings will be shared both ways. Holy Cross is a place that is filled with the Spirit. And I hope we can challenge ourselves to find new and meaningful ways to spread God’s love and grow in faith.