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10 Things About Prayer

Posted by Gwen Hattaway on

To make it to New Life’s time of corporate prayer, you’ll have to rise, but you may not be ready to shine at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. Without a doubt, it’s worth every minute of sleep you may be giving up.

If you’ve never experienced a New Life prayer meeting, you may not know what to expect. Allen Duty, Preaching Pastor, answers ten questions to help us better understand what Tuesday mornings are all about.

1. Why do we set aside time to pray together?

We are commanded to pray. Most of the commands to pray in Scripture are addressed to the church, not to individuals. Personal prayer is important. But, I believe corporate prayer is even more important, because it is when the body of Christ - all the parts - are coming together to worship God, confess our sin, and ask him to answer our requests.

For a Christian, prayer is not optional. If we believe Jesus’ words that apart from him, we can do nothing, we will pray. And if we truly believe that God hears us and answers us when we pray, we will pray. The honest truth is that most don’t pray, or don’t pray more often, because we lack faith that it actually accomplishes anything.

2. Who is welcome to come?

Anyone, but we desire that every member who is able will join us as often as they can. It is my dream that we would have to move the weekly prayer meeting to the Gathering Room because most of our members attend every week.

3. Why Tuesdays and why 6:30 in the morning?

There’s no particular reason for meeting on Tuesdays, other than it’s not a Monday (nobody likes Monday mornings). The time is more intentional. Most people are so busy they cannot afford another night out during the week. But nearly everyone can wake up earlier and come to pray before heading to work, to class, or to run errands.

4. How is the hour broken up?

We spend time reading, praying through the sermon text for the following Sunday, and then for the people and ministries of our church.

5. What is our model of prayer and where did it come from?

We begin with God’s Word, which informs us what to pray for and how to pray.

We read the passage and ask three questions:

1) How can we praise God from this passage?

2) How can we confess our sin in light of this passage?

3) How can we petition God from this passage?

We started praying this way after reading Tim Keller’s excellent book on prayer (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God). Keller points out that most Christians simply go through a list of requests, and then run out of things to pray for. Our model has been practiced by Christians for hundreds of years.

6. Why do we pray through the Bible verses that will be preached on Sunday?

Modern Christians tend to spend a great deal of time listening to teaching and preaching, but almost no time in prayer and reflection over the Scripture that they’re hearing taught or preached.

Reading and then praying through the upcoming sermon text gives us time to reflect and pray, and better prepares us to receive the Word preached the following Sunday.

7. Why do we not pray for my aunt’s broken finger or my neighbor’s missing dog?

Scripture commands us to pray for the church and its ministry, the advance of the Gospel, government and ministry leaders, and those who are persecuted for their faith, among other things.

Aunt Sally’s broken finger is a cause for concern. And the neighbor’s missing dog (depending on whom you ask) is a tragedy. Christians can, and perhaps should, pray for these things. But not in the corporate prayer meeting. If we did, we would neglect to pray for the things that Scripture tells us to pray for.

8. Do I have to pray out loud if I come? Will I be called on to pray? Do we take turns where I’ll have to pray?

No one who comes to prayer meeting has to pray out loud or is asked to pray without notice. You can come and participate silently if you wish - and we would love for you to do so.

9. What if I’ve never prayed out loud with a group before and I don’t know the “right words” or “Jesus talk”?

There is no better place to learn to pray than at our church’s corporate prayer meeting. We try to pray in ways that are biblical, reverent, brief, and devoid of fluff or religious jargon. It is very unlikely that you will ever hear long-winded, lofty-sounding monologues. Instead, you are likely to hear many short, passionate, heartfelt pleas lifted up to God based on Scripture.

10. What if I can’t come regularly, just sometimes?

Wonderful! Whether you can come once a month, once a quarter, or once a year, we would love for you to participate as often as you can.Please don’t fail to attend at all just because you can’t come every week.

To conclude, NL prayer time is much bigger than one hour on Tuesdays. The hour flows over into the week to help me remember to pray for our elders, our church, our missionaries and for the lost. It daily ingrains the three tenets of praise, confession, and petition into my heart as I meditate on the scriptures we read and how we’ve prayed. It forges bonds between NL Christian brothers and sisters that I normally wouldn’t cross paths with. I’m not a morning person. Getting up in time is an interpersonal spiritual discipline, to be sure. But, one that, through the grace of God, I’ve learned to love.