Thursday 12 March 2009

Prayer: let your words be few... and listen..

December 3, 2007

I have wanted so long to enjoy corporate prayer, at church as well as at school etc (yes, at at home… Lord? …. Thank You for the little bits that are happening!)

But now when I go to prayer times at church, I often feel not to say anything, but just to listen to the prayers of others and be in agreement. I do wonder what people think when I don’t pray out loud… but sometimes… well, yesterday I was struggling, kind of, with this very issue, and Your voice (it was Your voice, wasn’t it?) just came through so quietly and calmly, “Let your words be few…”

I love when we have prayer together and everyone just sits there quietly, just waiting… of course sometimes we feel a bit awkward, because we’re so used to “filling the spaces” with “chatter”….

But even if we feel a bit unaccustomed to it, it was still neat when we just sat there, and looked at each other, and kind of smiled shyly at each other… and no one felt like moving or breaking the silence for a little while.. and then quietly and peacefully another one just started to speak to You… naturally… and rightly, I think…

Anyway, it all really seems like a change from the habit of praying through a “list” of “requests” and “praise items” etc. – the whole seemingly “prayer routine”… the “ACTS plan” or the “Lord’s prayer pattern” or whatever other “methods” or “traditions” we use to “teach us/ help us to pray.”

I wonder… are those “wrong”? No, not necessarily … for You, Jesus, gave Your disciples a “pattern” or “example” for prayer in the “Lord’s prayer” … and we use Your prayer in John 17 as an example, and so on... and those are good things… and we can learn Your will and purposes and so on, through them… but it seems like they are just part of the path…

For surely, when You spent all those long nights alone in prayer with Your Father, surely You weren’t just praying from lists, or following “patterns” or traditions or whatever…

And when David lay awake at night on his bed, he himself says he meditated on Your Word… listening, isn’t that? hearing what You want to say…

And didn’t the prophet say, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” … Yes, Lord, as the song goes on to say, “Teach me Lord to wait!” on You!

Still, You do tell us to bring all our needs to You and to praise You without ceasing, and to be thankful in everything and to confess our sins to You – and to one another… So there is also that ACTS thing… and the pattern You gave in Your “Lord’s prayer.”

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