This first appeared at Are You Up Yet?
Growing up in the Bronx, New York, I was raised for the majority of my formative years by my grandparents. My grandfather (Lord, bless his soul) was a very stern and serious man. Both intelligent and compassionate, much of what I have learned about what it means to be a man, I take from him. But, despite this model of merit that I had the privilege of being parented by, it was not the patriarch of our family that left the most lasting impact on me. Instead, it was actually the matriarch of our family, my grandmother, that was responsible for the resounding lessons of life that presently resonate in me. Reserved, classy, & always collected. Baker of the best Sweet Potato Pie this side of the Jordan. Die hard Knicks fan. Never the one to mince words but always used them properly because she knew how powerful they were. Genuine enough to keep it real about where someone was in their life (and what she thought about it) but kind enough to love them anyhow, my grandmother was (and still is today) an amazing woman.
But, with all of the amazing attributes and wonderful ways that were deployed by her daily, the most memorable and magnificent memory I have of my grandmother is of how much she prayed. She would pray prayers of protection over her family, prayers of patience for herself, prayers of guidance when difficult decisions needed to be made, even prayers of worship to God. And when she prayed….God answered. This woman by virtue of her discipline and devotion gave me an impactful illustration of what it meant to connect with God (and to access the power of God) through prayer
Without falling into the trap of deifying my grandmother, I’d like to offer that the world could be better following her example. With all of our intellectual acumen and profound perspective, it seems that we, as Christians, have gotten disturbingly distant from the discipline, the devotion, and, I would contend, the dynamism that comes with connecting to our God in prayer. While there is a healthy space for you and me to think through why we believe what we believe, I think that we so much time being intelligent about our God that we have forgotten what it means to be intimate with our God. Have we become so comfortable in our conversion through Jesus that we have lost the art of conversation with Christ?With all that we, as children of God, are facing in the world, now is the time where we, as people of God, need to be communing and connecting with the Spirit of God. And my concern is that there are many among the body of believers have regressed in their relationship with God to the point where praying is no longer a priority in their walk with God. This not only results in malformed ministries and deformed disciples, but it also keeps us all from experiencing the peace, power, and placidity that can only come with conjoinment to the Divine through prayer.
What if the things we desired to see in the world, the changes we’d like to see, were not exclusively connected to relief efforts, political upheavals, and public demonstrations, but instead connected to Christians understanding that the healing of a land actually starts with God’s people praying (2 Chronicles 7:14). Make no mistake about it…do not be confused by charismatic characters or misled by the magic of a meaningful moment. Don’t get it tangled or twisted: The only reason why we are where we are today is because of the prayers of yesterday that were made to our God. And if we are ever going to make it where we are trying to go, it will be because there were those of us who were able to humble themselves enough to go to God in prayer.
I do believe in the activity of the Church universal to aid and address the ills of the day. I believe that we are all called to be the hands, arms & feet of God; called to touch, carry and go where He commands us to. I even place a very high value on redemptive, restorative value of the worship experience. But, can we, the people of the Way, ever get back to the point where prayer is a central part of our lives and our lustiness. I know there is much going on &, by my summation, things will get a lot worse before they get better. We are trying/have tried everything else. Have Christians become so consumed with agendas that we have cheapened God’s anointing? I know we have a lot going on…but, can we start praying again?
Derrick Holmes is an R3 Contributor
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