Friday, April 21, 2006

The Ministry of prayer: A modest proposal

Prayer lies at the heart of the life of a disciple. Jesus’ ministry was rooted in his prayer to the Father – he prayed in the wilderness, he prayed with his disciples, and he taught that we should pray confidently, as a child would address his or her loving, doting daddy (Abba).

Paul admonished the Thessalonians to ‘pray without ceasing’ 1 Thes. 5:17; he tells the Ephesians “hold faith as a shield, …and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [And] with all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones” (6:16-18).

It is our great privilege to be called, as Christians, to a ministry of prayer. Each week, people in our community, and people from around the world, ask our prayers. As a community, lets commit ourselves to honoring those requests every day.

Take just 30 minutes – either alone or, better yet, as a family, and pray.

Pray in praise of the wonders you have seen and experienced that day; pray in thanks for the gifts you have received from the hand of the Lord that day; pray in supplication for your needs, the needs of the people of God worldwide.

In particular, pray for those persecuted for the faith around the world, and for the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. Every day more than four hundred Christians lose their lives for their faith, but every day thousands make a decision to follow Christ.

Pray for our world itself – for peace and freedom and justice for all people. The Gospel grows best where people are free to hear the word. But throughout much of the world there is no such freedom.

Pray for the triumph of faith over secularism. Pray for the poor and needy, the forgotten, lonely, sick and suffering – especially those in our community and in our church. Pray for the ministry of married priests, and womenpriest in the Roman Catholic tradition – that we might be useful to the Lord in the building up of His Kingdom.

Pray for each other by name - for members of your family or faith community.

Pray silently if that is the prayer the Spirit gives you to pray. But pray for no less than a half hour.

Then conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

Finally, as Paul suggests, at other times in the day, “pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.”

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