The Spiritual Life Council (Elders) and I are engaging in a year of prayer here at Messiah, and I would like to encourage you to join us. Each day of the month, each of our elders will be praying for members from their elder group, and I will be praying for them as well. What that means is that every single member of Messiah Lutheran Church will be prayed for by name at least twice every month. It will be even more if you add your voice of supplication to ours. What a great opportunity!
Since we are engaging in a new part of our common life together, I thought it would be helpful to consider and review some of the most important questions about prayer. Here they are:
Why do we need to pray?
- We need to pray because we cannot do it alone. God invites us to join together and pray for one another in every need of body and soul. God Himself said at creation, “it is not good for man to be alone.” He not only gives us family in terms of husband and wife, but He gives us our church family, so that we can support one another in all of our needs of body and life.
- We need to pray because our fears can overwhelm us. It is very easy to become overwhelmed by the changes and chances of this life. Heaven knows life is overwhelming! But how much better would each day be if you know that there are people who are calling upon God Himself to come down and be with you through all of those trials?
- We need to pray because it connects us to both God and our neighbor. Just as we pray that God would come down and bless us, He also uses us to bless each other. Every time we pray for another person, it connects us to that person. They have become a part of your life and you, theirs. We share one another’s woes.
What are the risks in prayer?
- God might answer. Really we should say that God will answer. Be careful what you pray for, you might get it!
- We may start caring for each other. It’s pretty hard to continue to be angry or indifferent toward someone you are praying for.
- It may stir us to act. That care might actually mean we try to help each other. Who knows where that might lead…
What are the blessings of prayer?
- Prayer seeks an answer in God’s Word. We speak to God in prayer. He speaks to us in His Word. That is why for Lutherans we have always tied meditation on God’s Word to our prayer life. We’ll talk more about this in the months to come.
- God does answer prayer. This is both a risk and a blessing. We already talked about the risk part above. It is a blessing because always does more than we could possibly imagine. He is at work forgiving our sins, bringing life and salvation, and giving us all things in His Son, Jesus. It is almost overwhelming to think about the possibilities that God has in store for us, His children. “He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He also not with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
- Prayer ties us together in a way that nothing else can. God is at work in our midst by His Word and Spirit. Prayer for each other in Him ties us together. As our great All Saints hymn puts it, “and all are one in Thee for all are Thine”. Prayer strengthens that tie, makes the connections and ties more obvious and clear, and helps us to rely on them all the more.
What if I can’t pray?
- Christ prays with you and for you. Because Christ is your brother and has the Father’s ear, that means He prays for you every day, all day long. If you can’t pray, be at peace! It’s happening, for you, for your family, and for the whole world. Add your voice to yours when you can, but if you can’t, just sit back and hear the amen resound throughout the world.
What does it mean for us to call this a year of prayer?
It means several things:
- Each week in the bulletin we will have members of our congregation listed to pray for.
- I as your pastor will pray for every parishioner by name at least once a month.
- Each elder will pray for everyone in their group at least once a month.
I hope you will join us in this endeavor. Who knows what blessings God will give to us by calling upon His name in faith? Only time will tell.
+God be with you+
From the December 2009 Messiah’s Messenger