Friday, October 06, 2006

Prayer and prayerlessness

This morning I arrived ten minutes late for our Friday morning prayer time (my alarm went off ten minutes later than I set it for, for some bizarre reason – no, honest, it really did!)

Every Friday morning at seven, a few of us aim to get together and pray: for our disciples, for each other and for – whatever seems good. Sometimes, not many of us make it (sometimes it’s just one faithful sister, bless her soul).

Not wanting to get over-heavy about this, but perhaps this is a symptom of what someone described (rather over-heavily?) on the Jesus Army forum today as “the sin of prayerlessness”. Perhaps such a phrase is overdoing it, but the comment on the forum was well worth reading: thought-provoking stuff. (Check it out.)

I particularly liked this quote:

“Prayer occurs when you depend on God. Prayerlessness occurs when you depend on yourself.”

I know that I ought to spend more time in “deliberate” prayer. But as I've grown as a Christian and taken on increasing pastoral responsibility for others, I've found something new and rather exciting has happened in my prayer life. You could call it – “accidental” prayer. That is, as I carry people on my heart, in my mind and thoughts and love - they pop up all the time and find myself praying for them. Very often it's just a very brief, "arrow" prayer shot at God; sometimes it grows into something more and I have to go off and pace up and down and pray, or find someone to pray with.

But I realise that they come from something that's going on in my spirit at a deeper level. I'm carrying these people. They're there all the time. And occasionally they erupt, often silently or in a whispered prayer.

I think this is something approaching what the apostle meant by "unceasing prayer". This doesn't undo the call to “deliberate” prayer for certain set times and the call to pray together, agreeing in faith and so on. But it undergirds the whole thing and makes prayer a state of being rather than something to be done.

Let's keep talking about prayer! And let's keep praying.

5 comments:

Strengthener said...

Yeh man this is what I have been finding. Totally agree with you And let's keep praying.

normal said...

Thanks Strengthener. Who are you?!

Supernatural said...

Mmm. Challenged.

I know what you mean about accidental prayer. And I also know what you mean when you say you should spend more time in deliberate prayer.

I wonder if the difference between them is that accidental prayer is when the soul is primarily fixed on others, whereas deliberate prayer is primarily fixed on God.

Wouldn't wanna over-analyse it, though. Both are needed in my life too!

DarrenDeliberate said...

James, I've found I've been doing this unceasing prayer for the last 9-12 months and now its become a habit, as I think people or situations I pray to God about. I could be concentrating in work and it happens. I could be reminded that I need to do something and the next thought that follows on leads to a quick prayer. Talking with others has led to a quick prayer of agreement and with astounding results. I hadnt vocalised that I do this and I assumed that everyone else who is older in the Lord than me already does this, like its normal and just part of being a Christian.

This leads now leads me on to a quick prayer about this very subject..

Strengthener said...

Aidan- River