Exciting Prayer

Yes, I put those two words together.

This week my church has been participating in some special prayers times concerning the future of our congregation. We have been meeting every morning from 6-7 and every night from 9-10. Last night was the first time I have been able to go. It was the most exciting prayer meeting I’ve ever been a part of.

Typically prayer meetings I have been a part of have looked like a bunch of people hunched over with a lot of murmuring. You quietly pray for an hour on one to three topics and feel drained afterwards. Last night the format was totally different. We stood, we sat, we yelled, we sang. At one point half the room sang a praise song while the other half prayed out loud. It was really powerful. At times we prayed for a topic for no more than 45 seconds, other times we would pray for 10 minutes.

I’ll say something that is typically taboo for Christians to admit. . . But I don’t really like to pray. Honestly there are times when I would look forward to flossing more than I look forward to praying. It’s hard for me. I pray often and daily. But if someone were to say to me, “hey let’s get together and pray for a couple of hours”, you’d probably have to drag me there (or manipulate me with lots and lots of guilt). Last night, really primed my pump. I’m excited to return tonight. Yes I AM EXCITED TO GIVE UP MY FREE TIME AND PRAY.

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8 thoughts on “Exciting Prayer

  1. Sounds like an awesome time. Our church has a very active prayer meeting and it is similar to what you are describing here. Two good authors who have encouraged my prayer life are E.M. Bound and Samuel Chadwick. I think they are ole time Methodists. Praise God for your congregations and for calling on the Name so fervently.

    More fire!
    Jason

  2. Cool. It feels good to be engaged and on fire like that.

    Do you really feel like someone is listening and answering? How do you know? I’ve never genuinely felt like I was communicating with another being when I’ve prayed.

  3. GREAT question. Hold on to your hats and glasses.

    As much as I might get after LDS about relying on spiritual experience, I by no means deny the power and importance of spiritual experience. I have indeed felt power and response during prayer. I think spiritual experience is key the encouragement of believers. I have had many profound spiritual experiences that I cherish.

    Just tonight, I felt it in a room of believers asking God what we should even be praying for and then to see that prayer answered as we asked God for things too terrifying to desire. (terrifying because of what they would require of us) Often it is the feeling of a force pushing me “forward” to exalt Jesus above everthing else (this is my most common experience). Part of my ability to discern these moments is that I’ve learned how to listen to the Holy Spirit. I’ve, on occasion, made space in my life so that I could actually hear that which is so different that the rest of my 21st Century life.

    I’ve also on one occasion actually heard the audible voice of God. Never was it my expectation, nor do I expect to hear it again in this lifetime, but it left me undoubtably certain that God was listening to my prayers and capable of answering them. I’ve also seen a miracle performed as the result of my prayers, which I’ll save for its own post.

    The reason I get after LDS for relying on “burnings in the bosom” is that they are in no way unique to any faith. I fully recognize that sincere believers of many faiths have profound spiritual experiences and see answers to prayer (and even miracles). How could God be answering the prayers of contradictory belief systems? I leave that to God to answer. He’s proven himself generous to me and he’s already given me far more than I deserve, so I can’t really complain when he chooses to be generous to others. (I also don’t doubt the ability of demonic powers to give people spiritual experience and perform miracles. see Exodus 7). So because spiritual experiences and miracles are not exclusive to Christianity they can’t be our sole measure of truthfulness.

  4. Huh.

    It just always seemed like, if you could really talk to God like you can talk to a friend on the telephone, why doesn’t God just answer? I mean, he’s all-powerful, right? He can talk if he wants to, so why doesn’t he talk to me?

    I just never really had the feeling that I was talking to anyone but myself, no mater how hard I tried. Likewise, the “answers” always seemed to come from me, not from God.

  5. I know. That’s why I don’t want to give you a trite answer or tell you that you must not be trying hard enough or that you’re not sincere. I believe that you are. I do pray that God will reveal himself to you. So it’s not just your prayers He’s not answering right now. It’s mine too. I think if I were in your shoes and you were telling me all the ways God has answered your prayers, but he never answered even the most basic of mine, I’d be pretty angry with Him.

    On a broader level. I do believe that God is more than capable of revealing himself to everyone. If he even showed us a smidgen more of his glory we would have no doubt that he is real. But I also believe that if he were to do so, we would be compelled to believe. Our ability to freely choose Him would be gone. That’s something I’m inferring is important to Him.

    I don’t believe in a “Hidden God”. He doesn’t hide from me. I think the evidence of Him is every where. I don’t think He’s trying to be elusive. But I do believe that He has stepped back enough so that those who don’t want to believe in him don’t have to. He’s plenty evident to believers (but certainly not all of them) and he’s elusive to non-believers (but certainly not all of them either). I recognize that this is a believers-argument. It’s not meant to convince you of anything, it’s just how I reconcile the belief in a loving-God who wants to be known by all but isn’t seen by everyone.

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