Prayer Unites, Prayer Divides
Some Christians wield prayer like a weapon. I had a friend who liked to pray before every meal. At the coffee shop, at lunch out at a restaurant, with a group of Christians or non Christians, didn’t matter. I didn’t really begrudge her this, though I was not much of a Christian at the time, but one of our common friends, also a believer, got sooo frustrated with this behavior!
Thing is, Sister Super Christian would always wait til someone took a bite of food to say “hey, how about if we pray first?” Thus embarrassing and annoying the diner with her mouth full of food. This one woman had this happen to her one too many times and threw her fork down and folded her hands, definitely Not in a prayerful way.
It’s kind of funny now, but it really illustrates how we can make prayer something that comes between even fellow Christians, let alone non believers.
And then there’s the kind of prayer that I experienced last Wednesday and again yesterday. A group of humble, servants of God, praying sincere and fervent prayers with a faith that is palpable, and fills the room. I will say, there is nothing more beautiful than being a part of that. Feeling the Holy Spirit’s presence and love, with people praying for you…it’s indescribable and powerful. When we unite in prayer for a common purpose, it’s like the very air in the room changes.
Closer to God Through Prayer
Praying together can bring us closer as brothers and sisters in Christ, but also is vital to building a close, intimate relationship with God.
I never feel nearer to God than when I am praying, honestly and openly, from my heart. To a God who is always there, always listening, always straining to hear what we have to pray. And hoping we will take just a minute to listen to what He has to say back to us. We don’t always think of prayer as a two-way street, but if what you want with God is a relationship, not just a sounding board, then listening needs to be part of the equation.
It’s great to have a friend who listens to you, but if you never listen to them, the relationship can only go so far. It’s really no different with God. We start out turning to God with our laundry list of complaints, requests and laments – pleading for help. And that’s an okay place to start. I think many, if not most of us, start our faith journey this way.
But going deeper in relationship with God necessitates that you give Him a chance to speak into your situation. I mean, it’s what we want, right? Ultimately, anyway. I don’t think, deep down, we really just want to pray and have everything ‘magically’ made right in our life, with no real sense of knowing God better or feeling closer to him. Listening for God’s response after we pray can make all the difference!
For some great ideas on different ways to pray check out these websites http://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/hottopics/faithvalues/8-ways-to-pray.html and http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/prayer/2009/10/21-ways-to-pray.aspx?