When do we pray? As a congregation we pray on Sunday when we praise God in song, confess our sins, share joys and concerns for ourselves and the world, and seek to be guided by scripture. We begin and end committee and board meetings with prayer. We pray together before Elder Diner and potlucks. As pastor, I pray with people at the hospital and in my office and over the phone, usually at times of heightened grief, joy or anxiety. I know many of you pray daily, guided by devotions from the Upper Room or other publications. Families may pray before meals and parents with children at bedtime.
But, as typical liberal/mainline Protestants, most of us don’t come easily to prayer, especially with each other. We lack the prayer books of more liturgical traditions or the outspoken piety of evangelical churches. Praying together, especially out loud, can feel awkward or intrusive. I may be wrong (and please tell me if I am), but I’m guessing few people at Summit pray with each other outside of Sunday worship or meetings.
But prayer is our primary mission and reason for being called into the Church. Good works are vital expressions of discipleship, but good works can also be done outside of the Church. Our faith draws us into community, but wonderful communities are also created outside of churches and other religious institutions. Prayer is a special calling of the Church (and Synagogue, Mosque and Temple). People of faith are called to come before God on behalf of the world, giving thanks and praise, interceding for others, and petitioning for help. That is our holy calling.
So we (the Session) invite you to more prayer. Every Thursday morning, at 8:00 in the pastor’s office, we’ll pray together for half an hour. We won’t talk about prayer and we won’t do business. We will simply pray, finding our way from week to week as we learn ways to pray together for our church, the world, and for each other. You are welcome to come every week or when you are able. You may share concerns or pray silently and you may come and go quietly as needed. We will not have a “leader” and we will see where the Spirit leads us. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
Grace and Peace,