A Community Shrouded in Prayer
Thanksgiving is rejoicing in God’s goodness to all [people] and in giving for the needs of others. Petitions and intercessions are addressed to God for the continuation of his goodness, the healing of [humanity's] ills, and their deliverance from every form of oppression. - Confession of 1967
Prayer is about practicing the presence of God. - Dr. Oliver Crisp
I’ve written here about prayer before, I’ve also preached about it and taught about it. Prayer is a practice that is glues our worship together, hopefully it glues the entirety of our life as Christians together. Prayer is a communal practice, even when we engage the practice by ourselves. When we lift others before God in prayer, or when others intercede on our behalf we are drawn closer together as a community. Prayer can strengthen not only an individual’s relationship with God, but also a community’s relationship with God and with its members.
In an effort to encourage continued and consistent prayer in the life of our congregation I will be launching a short monthly prayer newsletter (separate from the regular church newsletter). In it I will include prayers from a variety of times and traditions. I’ll include scripture verses and quotes that helps us think about prayer in new (and old) ways. But I will also need contributions from all of you. One of the many things we should include in our prayer practice is prayers for each other, prayers for the church, prayers for our community, and prayers for the world. In that vein I am asking you to send me prayer requests that you would like the congregation to be praying for. You can send these to me via email, leave me a note in the office, or write them on the blue prayer request slips in the pews and place them in the offering plates in worship. Your prayers and your prayer requests are important to me and they are important to God. May we continue in prayer, shrouding our congregation and our community in prayer.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.- Ephesians 6:18
I leave you with a favorite prayer of mine from Thomas Merton:
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.