The delegates have now been given the opportunity to move from prayer station to prayer station to continue in this exercise of world prayer. At first, few seemed to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get up and move and find spots of prayer around the room, but that changed shortly.
We are praying our way around the world now. Great reminders of the suffering everywhere–some on a level most of us quite comfortable folks in the US have trouble grasping.
One of my long term habits has been to read through one or two newspapers every morning. It’s often unsettling–I learn of tragedies and maltreatment of human beings from across the sphere. I do this as part of my morning devotions and routinely pray my way through the news. It provides a sobering start to each day, knowing that the battles I fight on behalf of the oppressed in my small circle live in an echo chamber of worldwide horrors.
The delegates have now been given the opportunity to move from prayer station to prayer station to continue in this exercise of world prayer. At first, few seemed to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get up and move and find spots of prayer around the room, but that changed shortly. In fact, even as I write, I see people move, and it appears now that most will take advantage of this opportunity. I am reminded, however, that we are protestant in our prayer habits, and the practice of praying at stations does not come naturally to many of us.
I know that, while I certainly gained skill in my years as a pastor, I’ve never been very comfortable with spontaneous prayers, and am particularly uncomfortable when forced into groups of two or three for verbal prayer. It has often seemed to me to be a competition about who can be most eloquent in demanding certain things from God.
More, I have often been subjected to what I called “sermon prayers” whereby someone might be praying for me, but the whole time castigating me for whatever I had done wrong on that particular occasion. And then we have the “lecture prayers” whereby the prayer reminds God of certain points of doctrine or some promise which the deity appears to have forgotten.
Sigh. I am revealing my soul here. I find myself, as I grow in awareness of God’s holiness and my lack of it, more and more silent before God. Who am I to speak here? There is, for me, only one proper response to the growing awareness of the presence of God that honest prayer brings: “Have mercy upon me, O God, as I am a sinner.”
And now, some lively African-themed music calls the people back into session again. I love it–makes me want to dance! Whoever is leading worship now is getting the people involved, more clapping, standing, moving with the music. Nice job. Except now the worship leader is shouting at the delegates to Pray, Pray, Pray. And I do mean SHOUTING.
Photo credit: courtesy of free photos from VisualHunt.
Band at GC: screenshot of TV relay Christy Thomas