So Tuesday was a refreshing day in many ways. We spent time together with pastors from all over our conference, focusing on prayer for specific things, and talking about what prayer is. Some words were a good reminder.
It was pointed out that many times when we think about prayer, it's a relational thing. People ask, "How's your prayer life?" and by that question they mean, "How's your relationship with God?" or, "How close are you with God lately?", etc.
We think, "I need to work on spending more time in prayer." Usually, that ends up meaning something like, "I feel distant or disconnected from God somehow, and want to work more purposefully and devote more time to building that connection."
There's nothing wrong with these thoughts. Prayer IS relational, and the more time/frequency we spend drawing close to God in prayer can be a catalyst to great Kingdom living.
But prayer is also functional. If we believe that God can move through the fabrics of this world, to give confidence, to give hope, to give love, to reveal Himself in our hearts and minds - then we have to believe God can move in physical ways also. If God can impact the tangible world in any way at all, then He can impact the world in ANY way. We believe prayer tugs at the fabric of both the physical and supernatural realms (or possibly the realm that is both as one). Even if we can't understand every aspect of it, and some things that happen offer to be explained away scientifically - we believe God can be, and is often involved.
I need to do more of this kind of praying. Proclaiming God's Kingdom as existing in the world around me on a daily basis. In my home, in my car, at my workplace (even though it's a church), when I'm out and about, etc. God has initiated His Lordship over all creation, and is calling us to proclaim it not only in deed, but in word. Specifically, spoken word. God's a big fan of saying things out loud. He spoke in Genesis, and things came into existence. He spoke throughout the Gospels, and healing came.
Can I pray silently/reflectively/meditatively in my head, just between God and myself? Yes. And this kind of prayer is important. But it's also very easy for me. What I need to work on, and as part of my LENT commitment to being less socially appropriate - I will pray out loud more often. Look out creation.
Church For The Unwelcomed
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