. . . we need to do more than pray in order to have prayed.
A pastor-friend writes a weekly one-minute inspiration that I receive by email. The one that arrived this morning included this insight:
"Prayer shouldn't just be uttering words about the messy needs of the world in comfortable places that insulate us from suffering. Being the answer to Jesus' prayer is about getting on our knees and getting our hands dirty in that mess." Pastor Rick Ezell (www.rickezell.net)
We know prayer must be our priority and prayed with urgency (1 Timothy 2:1), so, we preach sermons, schedule meetings, establish groups, build teams, hoping to incorporate more believers into the ministry of praise and intercession. In that process, prayer can become an end unto itself. We fall into a habit of praying in order to have prayed. Before meals. Wednesday nights at 7pm. Half-way through the Sunday service.
But prayer is less about what we say and more about the one to whom it is said. And the hope of our prayers being answered increases as we are willing to be transformed by our own prayers ... with the potential that we become our Lord's answer to our most intense and even desperate prayers.
Pray for lost neighbors and friends . . . but also look for ways to demonstrate Christ's love to them.
Pray for persons who are sick or suffering . . . but devote time praying with them or meeting practical needs of their family.
Pray for our communities . . . but dedicate our spiritual gifts plus our talents and skills to serving others.
So that people see the love of Christ working in and through us. So that God's name is revered and His people are respected.
Prayer that leads us to care results in openness to share the faith, hope and love we have received from and in and through Christ. As Eric Swanson has said it, "Good works produce good will resulting in opportunities to share the good news."
May today be a prayer-care-share day . . . because, it seems to me, saying a prayer is just the beginning.
Church Prayer Leaders Network
National Pastors' Prayer Network