Today, a thinking out loud blog entry that randomly jumps from one ranting lily pad to the next...
Is there a way that we could better improve our prayer networks in church?
The traditional way of doing prayer in a corporate way is just wrought with so much... ugh. I can't even really put a word on it. It doesn't feel sincere, or authentic. And it always feels so short-sighted.
I've noticed for awhile, and never said anything, about how our prayer lists in our church bulletins are merely laundry lists of folks in ill health & their afflictions. Is this all that we can think of to pray about?
I do understand that this is part of the culture of older folks. Older folks generally sit around sharing with one another their long history of ailments & giving detailed explanations of their treatments & doctor's visits. I wish they wouldn't include their preacher in their often thorough & long-winded medical treatises, but that's a little bit of a different issue... ;)
(I know, I know... I'm so insensitive)
When we come to our large group of worship, often the best way to describe our "families of believers" is by calling us "familiar strangers." We don't very well get to a place where we can pray in specificity for one another's needs because we can't get comfortable enough in large settings to deal with those kinds of big, personal issues. So all we're really comfortable praying about is our health. Maybe the weather, too, if there's a hurricane looming.
But I'm not necessarily interested in getting into a polemic over why all churches should do small groups. :) In general, I think that there are bigger things that we could be praying about besides all of our boo-boo's. That's an indelicate way to put it, I know, but there are weightier matters to pray about. I wonder about how myopic & narcissistic we appear when so many of the corporate prayers that we offer are about healing our bodies in this temporal existence.
And corporate prayer is important. I'm convinced that many young folks, and especially new converts, learn how to pray by listening to public prayers in worship. And when I listen to these newer folks pray, they're often the most anxious over including all the right phrases in just the right order. So that it seems that we are in the business of breeding generations of Christians who pray artificial prayers whose only concern is their cosmetic appeal to the ear.
I guess what I'm interested in is hearing some fresh ideas that bring authenticity back to prayer en ekklesia. If you have any to offer, I'm all ears. Or if you can turn me onto a resource or two that has helped your ministry "do prayer" better, that'd be great too.
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