A surprising thing has happened to me in lockdown. I am in church more often. Put simply, I am starting the day in a daily prayer meeting put on by my local church.
In church, in the sense of being gathered which is what the Bible word normally translated “church” means. In church, over zoom with twenty or thirty others.
It’s a very normal prayer meeting. There are energetic pray-ers and shy pray-ers. People in multi-generational households and those who live alone. Prayers for local issues like the year 12 students at church and those giving birth. Prayers for missionaries, we are big on those. Prayers for our state and federal governments and health and essential workers. There are some periods of silent prayers and there’s a time we all pray together – we have developed a habit of praying the grace (2 Cor 13:14) all unmuted in a joyful cacophony at the end.
Of course, this is nothing new. Some Eternity readers will have been gathered in prayer each day with others, maybe at work. Some will be regulars with morning prayer and other daily services of a prayer book or the Book of Hours. Others will simply gather like us.
And daily prayer meetings have been part of my life at special times. There was an ordinary exercise book in the old Evangelical Union room at my University, with each page with a line ruled down the middle, with prayers made on one side and answers that came on the other.
It was a lesson in God’s faithfulness to read that book. And come to think of it – there was the implicit belief that God would answer the prayers in it, because of the column for answers. and he did.
All honour to those who have prayed in groups each day for years. Honour to all the prayer warriors out here, too shy to write something like this!
For those who believe that physically gathering together is needed for “church”, please don’t feel excluded by this “Everyday Christian”. Just take it as an encouragement to use what we have got.
In my life, I have been thrown into prayer in crisis. For me, trouble rather than “the law’ has been the schoolmaster (Gal 3:24) leading me to Jesus. Do le’s not waste this crisis. We’ll learn that prayer brings fruit. Always.
So in our time of trouble, let us pray, and I trust pray more.