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Thoughts on Prayer



Thoughts on Prayer

Written by Bethany Clark


Prayer.


What comes to mind when you see that word?


Is it an image of someone kneeling, or a group of people huddled with heads bowed?

Perhaps it is the words of the Lord’s Prayer?

Maybe it is a sense of rest? Or maybe you are worried that someone is going to tell you to pray more or pray better?


As I walk with Jesus I am learning that prayer is at once simpler and more encompassing than I can imagine, and it cannot be defined with the catch phrases or acronyms we often use.


Prayer is ancient words recited and also a silent cry of “help”.

It is breath prayers on the way to work and corporate confession during Sunday service.

Prayer is lighting a candle while speaking the name of a suffering friend and also anointing the sick with oil.

It is a way of exercising our faith - sometimes in bold declarations of God’s promises, and other times with the confession of “I believe, help my unbelief”.


Most importantly, God delights in us no matter how or how often we connect with God in prayer. So, don’t worry - I am not going to tell you to pray more often or pray better! My hope is that prayer will be a place of safety and rest. May prayer be a place to lay down burdens instead of a burden to bear.


Prayer is turning towards Jesus. It is communion with God, both in solitude and in community…each of these practices nourishing one another. In this post I want to focus on praying for and with one another, but I will also list some resources at the bottom that have been helpful for me in learning to connect with God in different ways.


When I think about praying for one another, I am reminded of a story from the gospels. Jesus was in town and word had spread of his healings and miracles. There was a man who had been lame since birth. I don’t know if he wanted to go to Jesus for healing or if maybe he was skeptical or too tired to try. What I do know is that he had friends - really good friends! They carried him on his mat, taking him to see this man Jesus. Maybe he could help their friend. They get to the house and see that the crowd is overwhelming. Do they wait in line or decide to try another time? No. Their friend needs to get to Jesus. So, they go up on the roof and start digging through the hardened mud and lower their friend down.

Then Jesus takes over.


Sometimes I need someone to help me get to Jesus. Other times, I am the one bringing someone else to Jesus. Praying for others does not have to be fancy. We don’t need a lot of words. Our job is simply to bring them to Jesus in arms of faith. Then God takes over.


Praying with and for others also helps my faith to grow. It reminds me that I am not alone. When I am tired or burdened with cares of the world, I have others to carry me. When I am grieved by the darkness around me, I find hope and light in coming to God together.


At Waypoint Church we want to encourage you in and through prayer. Each Sunday we have a team of people who are available to pray for any needs you have. If you are not able to join in person, we now have people available to pray over the phone or through a text/email during the service. I hope you will reach out to someone on this team or to a friend if you desire someone to pray with you!


As we enter the season of Lent, we will also be having weekly prayer gatherings on Zoom, as well as a prayer guide for use individually or in small groups. I did not grow up doing anything special for Lent, but I have found that joining with believers in regular seasons of prayer or reflection has helped to ground my faith. Please join us in seeking God together as we remember Jesus' final days on Earth before celebrating his resurrection on Easter!


If you would like to explore some different types of prayer or need a starting point for prayer, here are some resources that have been helpful for me:


Apps/Websites/Blogs


Common Prayer - this free app has prayers and scripture for morning, midday, and evening taken from the Book of Common Prayer.


Pray As You Go - if you prefer audio to reading, this is a great resource! It includes a daily reading of scripture and prayer prompts from that scripture.


Breath Prayers for Anxious Times - from Sarah Bessey’s Field Notes. A helpful introduction to the practice of breath prayers


Books:

Prayer: Forty Days of Practice, by Justin McRoberts & Scott Erickson


A Rhythm of Prayer, A Collection of Meditations for Renewal, edited by Sarah Bessey

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, by Richard Foster - this one is available in the Waypoint Church library!



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