Where does prayer lead us?
Sunday, Sept. 30’s sermon was Powerful Prayer. The rabbit hole it brought me down ended at community. It’s one thing to be in private reflection and prayer, but it’s quite another to take the time to get ourselves out of our comfy chairs or un-comfy chairs, out of our hidey-holes, and get ourselves into a church.
But guess what? It’s good for us and it turns out it’s good for others, too.
A bit of wisdom from Art Lindsley of the C.S. Lewis Institute is essential to this conversation, “When we live our lives in isolation, what we have is unavailable and what we lack is unprocurable,” wrote Basil (an early Church father). He counsels us, “When we live our lives independently, other people are poorer because they cannot benefit from our gifts: “what we have is unavailable. Also, when we isolate ourselves, we are poorer because the benefits of others’ gifts are lost to us, so what we lack, we cannot get. There are good things in others that are “unprocurable” unless we interact with them. So, if we take on the role of “lone ranger” believer, others are poorer and we are poorer too.”
Our lives, as it happens, are richer when we live productively within a society; sharing and caring is good for everyone, as it turns out.
That includes corporate prayer-praying one prayer together. In this very individualized era of religion, people have told me they won’t participate in the communal prayers. These prayers, they report, don’t reflect their present state of mind or need. In my church, it is the pastor who selects these prayers. Could it be that the pastor has a wisdom that, collectively, these prayers may be needed for the health and wellbeing of the congregation? Where have we gone that we cannot pray a prayer that might be a benefit to another’s soul, if maybe not mine, on a given day? And, are we certain that prayer isn’t necessary for our soul?
The Holy Spirit is a profound and audible partner in the preparation of a worship service. How have we, as a people, lost our trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Read scripture, pray, reflect. Then allow yourself to be challenged by the prayers and the needs and the outpouring of love from a big old messy church community.
In the love of Jesus Christ,
 Art Lindsley, PhD., “Community and Why We Need It,” C.S. Lewis Institute, accessed October 2, 2018, published November 01, 2013, http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/Community_and_Why_We_Need_It_page1.