Phil Miglioratti interviewed Remco Brommet, author of "Prayer Matters" for The Reimagine.Networl
PHIL >>> Remco, what did God use to prompt you to write this book?
REMCO >>> During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the violence erupting in our country I encounter a lot of anxiety among people in our ministry community along with a lack of knowledge of how to pray. I began writing a series of weekly prayer pointers. During that time I could not shake the thought that God's people, especially here in the USA, urgently need to root themselves deeply into a daily relationship with Him as times get harder, and move from occasional crisis or need-driven prayer to a life of unceasing prayer in order to have the strength of faith, the depth of peace, and the brightness of light in order to thrive amidst growing global chaos.
PHIL >>> You have an uncommon profile: Born in the Netherland, pastored in Amsterdam, 40+ years of ministry in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and the United States. How have these experiences and cultures fed into your worldview, especially your perspective on prayer?
REMCO >>> It has given me a keen sense that we are part of a Global Church that is very diverse and yet also very much united in Christ by the Holy Spirit. It has also given me a diverse prayer experience. Both in the Netherlands and in places like Southeast Asia and Africa, I saw something we often do not think about very often, namely that we are engaged in a fierce spiritual battle. Satan has been effective in helping us forget that issue in many of our US churches. Growing up and ministering in The Netherlands has also helped me understand what being a Christian looks like in a post-Christian society, something we are not familiar with here in the US either. It helps me understand the trends and see the handwriting on the wall that we are rapidly moving towards that. That in turn is what drives me to call as loudly and as often as I can upon Christians that a healthy prayer life, at home, and in church, is a matter of (spiritual) life and death.
PHIL >>> You view The Lord's Prayer as "more a template for prayer than an actual prayer to be repeated." How did you come to that conclusion and what are the surprising benefits that come from that revelation?
REMCO >>> I was taught that it was more of a pattern for prayer than a rote prayer early on in my spiritual walk. As I started writing about the crucial importance of a life of prayer it dawned on me that Jesus" teaching on prayer, being the Son of God and speaking straight from the Father's heart, forms the basis. The surprising benefit is that it frees prayer from a liturgical repetition and el evates it into a multi-faceted love relationship with the Father. And the more I think and write about it, the more I see that just about every prayer I pray falls under one of the facets of the Lord's prayer. It also forms the keys to "surrendered prayer," prayer that acquiesces in the good and perfect will of God and seeks answers on His terms and according to His will rather than our own.
PHIL >>> Speak to us from the roles that have defined your life of ministry:
- What insights, lessons, have you learned about the matters of praying from serving as a spiritual growth teacher? (focus:personal/individual)
- REMCO >>>Prayer is the primary practice that keeps us connected to Christ as a branch is to the Vine. What is of particular importance is that we learn to listen to the Lord as part of our prayer life. When we do that first and ask Him to speak to us, we study our Bibles with different eyes, and we put our requests before God with insight from the Holy Spirit. It places us on the receiving end of the constant impartation of His truth, which sets us free from worry, anxiety, confusion, fear, and hopelessness. That is especially important as our world seems to spin towards destruction ever faster.
- Speak to pastors who need to ignite their own prayer life as they want to equip their congregation to "discover the joys of God's design for a life of prayer." (focus: the fellowship of prayer)
- REMCO >>> A turning point in my prayer life came when God took all ministry away from me and for 18 months had me in a place of just coming to Him and letting Him speak into my life through prayerful interaction with the Word and quiet but clear promptings of the Holy Spirit. I realized I had fallen into the trap I had often warned pastors about and let my relationship with God be a business relationship, with the focus of my prayers and the nature of my Bible study on ministry and not my inner life, or even my everyday life. By turning that around, I learned to be first and foremost a son and relate to God as Father, and let ministry flow out of daily relationship and communion with Him. My advice is to take time out of ministry to reconnect with Him personally around the simple question: What do you want to say to me today? Then let Him bring you back to sonship. Surrender the tyranny of the urgent to Him and make a daily time of personal prayer and meditation a priority. I also recommend using two Bibles: one for personal meditation and a separate one for sermon prep.
- Having served in various roles as a prayer leader, what can you share with us about prayer for-and-in-and-with the community? (neighbors/nations)
- REMCO >>> God has ordained to work mightily through the prayers of His people. We are not only a chosen race, a holy nation, and a people of His own possession (1 Peter 2:9) but also a royal priesthood. Every Christian is drafted into the Great Commission and the great spiritual battle that surrounds it, and every Christian has been given the mantle of priesthood whereby we carry the needs of the world around us before the Father. By God's choice, doors open for the gospel - in our backyard and to the ends of the earth. By God's choice, Satan is defeated in places where he opposes the gospel through our prayers. By God's choice, blessing is poured down upon our fellow believers, and upon the people we rub shoulders with. By our choice, we either participate in the great and mighty things God brings about through prayer, or we stay behind in the dust of our daily cumber and miss the incredible joy of joining Him in the advance of His Kingdom.
PHIL ... Remco, please write a prayer you would hope we would pray after reading "Prayer Matters" ...
REMCO >>> Dear Father in heaven. Thank you for the privilege and power of prayer. Thank you that your throne and your ear are available to us 24/7. Today I pray that I may move from occasional prayer to unceasing prayer. Help me see what it is and give me the strength and courage to order my life around communion with you. Open my eyes to the power of intercession and to see myself as one of your royal priests. And above all, give me ears to listen to what the Holy Spirit gives me to pray and imparts to me through your Word, that I may live and pray according to your will and pleasure. In Jesus' name. Amen.