Prayer....what a lost art! We have churches that gets a decent attendance, but, that is only in the mornings. Holidays, the attendance swells, but that is only Sunday mornings. Churches, at least very few, meet on holidays during the week, except maybe on the eve oft holidays. Wednesday night services are non-existent anymore, and Sunday night services has been replaced by small groups. Our way of Christian life has changed dramatically in the last twenty five years, and it doesn't seem to be turning around. Why is that?
Could it be that commitment has become a mill stone around our necks, instead of a badge of honor? Could it be that the social structure, as being influenced my the media and entertainment industry, has subconsciously changed the way we think? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes! But still, it comes down to two important influences in our lives, church leadership and our conscience. Our conscience, because we purposely become so busy that we refuse to hear God beckoning us to take time out to talk to him. That is what prayer is, talking to God. We get intimidated because we can't pray in an oratory fashion of a professional speaker. We think we have to use certain words and phrases to make our prayers an A+ prayer. We think if we don't us the " thee's and thou's" we aren't equipped to pray. And we think that if we don't use the proper "Queen's English" God refuses to here us. That is all pure nonsense. God is willing to hear us regardless of how we speak, He is willing to hear us no matter if we speak to Him as we speak to our friends. He is there to hear us, and He is willing and wanting to talk to us if we would only slow down and listen. And that is as true in a collective prayer session as it is in our private prayer sessions.
The next problem that affects our prayer life is the church leadership. It is the responsibility of the Elders of the church, the Deacons, and the Deaconesses to set and example for the flock. Most of these positions, or offices in the church are held by business professionals who put their business before God. Wednesday night, or mid-week services, suffered severely, followed by Sunday evenings. This then was followed by people who would not sacrifice their evenings because they were too tired to attend. So the trend continued, with the excuse if they don't have to be there, then the rest of the flock didn't have to, either. When the church looks at their finances, they can trace it to the decline of commitment by the church leadership. The leadership does not make an effort to communicate with the parishioners either by phone calls or personal visits asking if they could be of assistance and if they could pray with them. The church leadership has alienated itself from the rest of the fellowship. The lack of prayer and praise has started the decline of the church as we know it, or knew it. It is an easy problem to fix. Commitment. That is all it takes, and the desire to listen to God. When we get the church leadership behind the goals God has set for his church, we could prosper, and we could excel in bringing souls into the kingdom.
Prayer is a necessity in each individuals life, in each community, and in each nation. To reject prayer, to ignore it altogether, we risk God bringing judgement upon us as a nation or as individuals. Prayer, a tool between people and their God, for communication. Prayer, a tool that could bring strength and rest to one's spirit. If we could keep that line of communication open with God, how much better we would be. It doesn't have to be elaborate. You don't have to follow any kind of rules. When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, He taught them what we now call the "Lord's Prayer". It was a conversational prayer. that is all He asks of us.