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Words of The Latter Rain

Volume 1, Issue 4, August 2008

8/30/2008

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Prayer

David Nix

Saturday, 8/30/2008

 This article is simply about prayer, not the elements of prayer, not the principles of prayer, but simply about prayer. I use the word “simply” for a reason. Prayer should be simple. It shouldn’t require lots of forethought, it shouldn’t be intimidating, and it shouldn’t be something you approach with pounding pulse and sweating palms. Some look at prayer as an obstacle to face at church, or in a group, or in their home. Some almost have it laid out like a flow chart. They want to make sure they cover all the things necessary so they have long lists of things they are going to pray for. They will set up a routine of praying for certain things in the evening, certain things in the morning, or certain things in the afternoon. Some will follow the “flow chart” for every prayer. There are ones that have prayer as a well rehearsed routine.  They have dissected it into the basics.  They know they want to spend a certain amount of minutes praising God and Jesus, so many minutes on family, and so many minutes on the world, etc…. If you find yourself in any of the above categories, then let me ask one question before you opt to defend your particular way of praying.  The question is really a simple one, “What happened to conversation?” Also maybe another question should be thrown in, “Who are you praying to?” Now the second question may sound silly to you, but it seems that too often we can end up praying almost to ourselves. We start thinking so hard on our words, that we may praise God in the prayer, but our minds and hearts are truly somewhere else.  We have to be very cautious in this, because if we have our thoughts too much centered upon ourselves then we cause our prayers to be ineffective. Also pride can creep in if you are busy worrying about how your prayer is going to sound to others around you.  In group prayer, the most beautiful prayers I have heard have been short and simple.

Now as to the first question, “What happened to conversation?” I ask this because conversation, just like prayer, is communication. When we pray we want to have a conversation with God.  We desire for Him and His Son to hear our words. They, in turn, want us to hear them. It is a conversation. How many of you rehearse a conversation with a friend?  How many of you say the same thing over and over to a friend?  When you meet a friend you have give and take, you converse. You share with each other. Our prayers to the Mighty Ones in heaven need to be more in line with a conversation, but not a one sided one. I’m sure all of you have known someone that dominates the conversation. There was one gentleman that use to attend church with me that could make grown men cry with they were trapped alone with him, for they knew that if they got trapped that they would be listening to this man talk and talk and talk.  The man loved to hear himself talk. You would barely get a word in edgewise. I have seen many a man or woman look toward me with pleading in their eyes to rescue them from this man. We would try to steer visitors away from him in the hopes that they would want to come back. Sometimes I would be the one trapped and I also would start looking for assistance. No one wanted to hurt this man’s feelings, but in hindsight it may have been best for him if someone had advised him of his problem.  Jesus has told us that we too have this weakness. In a message on learning how to listen entitled, “More on Spiritual Sight and Hearing” given Wednesday, June 06, 2007, Jesus Christ makes the statement in point five, “My people still speak often and listen poorly.”

Please understand there is a place and time for long prayers. My prayers vary in length. Sometimes they tend to be shorter, other times much longer. Typically my early morning prayer tends to be the longest. I’ve had a whole night without talking to God and I like to spend more time. That is when I will typically read a Psalm to Him and pray about it. But whether we  have a long prayer or short prayer in our home, we need to be sure we are spending time listening as well. We have got to learn to listen.

God is teaching us a lot about prayer. We have been told that there is great power in prayer. We can change the world with prayer. We can change people’s destinies.  We can change the past, present, and future with prayer. God is showing us the power of corporate prayer and fasting. Unified prayer sends a beacon of light upward to the thrones of mercy.  The ministers have set up prayer times during the day  to be included as part of the daily sacrifice. We have advised the members in case they want to join. There is no teleconference; there is no obligation to pray at these times, though it would be great if all could make it at least one of these times. The times set are at 9:30 P.M, 6:30 A.M,(7:30 on Sabbath) and 12:30 P.M.  Every Tuesday morning at 6:30 A.M, the ministers join together in prayer for those in need of prayer due to sickness, addictions, etc., and God has shown us the power of joined light when others pray for the same people at the same time. There is great power in united prayer. God has also shown us the importance of prayer during our worship services.  We open with prayer after the reading of the pattern of worship. We will pray for those sick or facing other needs. We have group prayer at the end of services to bind us to Jesus, to God the Father, and to each other. All of this in based on instructions from God. We are still learning. We learned to ask the person to our right for a particular need they had, and we would pray for that need in our prayer. Recently when discussing mercy, we were led to ask the person to our right to give us a name of someone else they wanted us to pray for that needed God’s mercy at that time in their life. Now God is leading us again. Now when gathering in our group prayer, we simply pray for the person to our right (or left, however your group wants to do). We don’t ask them for a particular need. We allow God’s spirit to lead us. It will allow the gift of prophecy to manifest itself. It also keeps you from concentrating so much on what you are praying about. We need to be listening to the other prayers and then just let God lead us in what we say. Often, we simply pray for what need was shared in the message. If the message was on a tender heart,  typically that is what everyone wants to have, etc… But once again, if God leads you to something else, then go as led.

We are also learning that our  group prayer is to be different than our personal prayers. We are in a group, many kneeling on hard floors without any type of back support and people can tire fairly quickly. Also, since we are typically in groups of ten, we need to keep prayers to a proper length. God has instructed us that our group prayer should not go more than thirty minutes. In a group of ten that would mean three minute prayers, though it would be best to keep them at two to two and a half minute prayers. If you are in a group of eight, you shouldn’t feel that the extra minutes belong to you. In group prayer, pray as God leads you, but you do not need to bring in all of your family, personal needs, etc., unless that is how you are led. Remember, we have been told to let our group prayer be focused upon the needs of others, and perhaps a special need if God leads you to this.

I remember when we first began to have group prayer, many were timid and simply said “amen” to let it pass to the next person. Now, we have supposedly gotten good at it, and all timidity has left, but again, we need to be aware of the time, and the purpose of the prayer. We also need to be aware of the small ones that God sends to us. New people may be intimidated by long eloquent prayers, so, with that in mind, we should  intentionally make our prayers short and simple to aid that person in his or her prayer.  Please do not allow pride to rear its ugly head. Prayers really are simple.

 

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