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Present in Prayer

Part two in a series on the Lord’s Prayer as road map to mission.

Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash

The other day I wrote about the difference between program and presence. I stated that I though that the Lord’s prayer is a road map to presence. Lord’s prayer starts with, “When you pray…”

Jesus has just been asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray. He makes an assumption that they will indeed pray. As I consider my own spiritual life that this is an appropriate assumption. Praying is really hard for me, it is not natural or top of mind. I like to fix things and make things happen, prayer feels like the exact opposite of that.

Yet, for those of us who are seeking to follow the way of Jesus the expectation is that we will pray. That is the starting point for this journey into presence. It is prayer.

I’m curious, do you see or understand prayer to be the central driving force to being on mission in your community, neighborhood, or city? I certainly don’t.

There, I wrote it, I don’t see prayer as the central driving force to mission. I see physical presence to the be the center.

Throughout the gospels we see a pattern of prayer then teaching then miracle. I think the pattern holds. Often, Jesus disappears to pray. I think we can understand this to be his regular practice.

Yet, I have grown up in my spiritual life to believe that bible study is the foundational practice, followed by evangelism, then prayer, then serving “least of these.” Attending regular worship gatherings is in there too as an underlying expected practice.

I am growing to believe that prayer is possibly the singular most important thing that we can do.

When I make that statement I am not talking about the wish list kind of praying that many of us think of when we think about prayer. I am also not thinking about saying “grace” over a meal.

I’m coming to believe that prayer is the practice by which we open space to engage the divine presence in our lives. We quiet ourselves and listen more than speak. It is in prayer that we are able to engage with God as who he is, Spirit.

What do you think? Am I making too much of prayer? Is it really necessary for us to truly practice mission in our communities, neighborhoods, and towns?

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