Sunday, December 23, 2007


I clearly remember being in my early 20s, beginning to worship in a church I came to love, and not believing much, if any of what the other folks believed. I have a vivid memory of lying in bed one night, deciding I would try prayer. This was immediately followed by 2 thoughts. First, "I'm not even sure I believe anyone is listening" and second, "how do I pray? I have no idea."

This has left me with something of a passion for being intentional about sharing methods of prayer. There are so many. I find it is common in the church for the subject of prayer to have a lot of assumptions surrounding it, the boldest assumption being that everyone already knows how to pray.

So I cannot remember how I came across this method, but I find it is mysteriously wonderful. For a long while, several years ago, I was in the habit taking time in silent prayer in which I would ask God "who do I need to pray for?" Very often, the most random of people would come to mind, and I would pray for them.

Here's one of the things I have discovered about prayer: I get bored with the same way of praying. So I change forms to avoid boredom; if I get bored, I will simply stop praying.

The really interesting thing is that this is one technique God has not let me stop using. By that I mean I have learned to trust that when people pop into my mind out of the blue, I pray for them.

And over the course of the past 2 months, on five different Sundays as I have been sitting in silence to prepare for worship, God has brought someone to mind. In each case, that person has been in worship that morning, very often someone who has been away for some reason.

Prayer is indeed a mysterious thing.

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