There must be something about prayer. It is our means to connect with the Creator and to soothe troubled souls. Thinking about it reminds me that even the most devout of non-believers are moved by the thought of prayer. Whenever there is a physical need or a tragedy happens we turn to prayer. We say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Or “I’ll be praying for you.” There must be something about prayer.

            One interesting thing about prayer is that, although we give great lip service to the activity, we don’t really practice it. Several years ago (and I don’t have any evidence to prove that our situation has changed) I heard a report on Paul Harvey’s commentary that fewer than 5% of ministers in main-line churches spend more than an hour a week in prayer. It is interesting to me that we have such a fondness for prayer without offering prayer in any dedicated manner. Most people have a prayer life that includes saying grace at meals and kneeling at bedside to pray “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .” Sadly, we discontinue the practice of even these once we get beyond grade school.

            In our own church—and we seem to be a typical example of Southern Baptist churches—we continue to hold what we call “mid-week prayer service.” This service is actually a Wednesday evening Bible study with a prayer time for all the in-grown toenails, indigestions, and scraped knees that our congregation knows of. And we tack it onto the end of the service. Certainly, I am in support of Bible study, intercessory prayer, and all that takes place in these meetings. On the other hand, this particular service continues to be a dying breath effort. We provide child care for younger children, and the only parents to attend are the staff. Once in awhile there may be another toddler or baby in the nursery area on this occasion—usually if their parent is working as a volunteer. Why is this part of our church life so ill-attended? I can identify two reasons for sure, although there are probably many more:

  1. Prayer has been de-emphasized to the point of inconsequential—partly by the insistence that we “do more than just pray” and partly by the misunderstanding of the activity of prayer.
  2. We continue to have a meeting because we’ve been doing it for so long. It has to be on Wednesday evening because it’s always been on Wednesday evening.

Even though we have a tendency to botch things up, there’s still something about prayer. I know this because I am seeing a resurgent emphasis on prayer. Even more than in general terms, prayer seems to be the focus of the day. Listening to Christian radio this morning I heard back-to-back Bible teachers preaching sermons on prayer. One of my blogging friends’ post today is on prayer. And this weekend the International Mission Board is encouraging believers to join them in a day of prayer and fasting in behalf of the Udmurt people of Russia. So, there must be something about prayer.

I would encourage you to pray. Don’t go looking for a prayer list today, just pray. I know that there are any number of needs that you can lift to the Lord, but what if . . . just, what if today, Christ-followers everywhere simply paused to have a visit with the Maker? That’s what I encourage you to do today. Renew your acquaintance with the Master. Sit at His table and sip coffee, just shooting the breeze. We might all discover that He has a word for us, an encouragement, a challenge that we can’t refuse.

Take a few minutes today and converse with the Father. Tell Him your heart, and listen for His response. Listen with your eyes, your ears, and with your heart. Then tomorrow, do it again. Because there’s something about prayer.

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