January 26, 2021 Share & Prayer

Share and Prayer Group, here is some preparation material for our Share and Prayer gathering on Tuesday, January 26th.  Thanks AGAIN for spending time with me on the topic of prayer.

Taken from Jane Vennard’s book A Praying Congregation: The Art of Teaching Spiritual Practice

Everything a Prayer

  • When in your life has something you were doing become a prayer?
  • What activity do you do regularly that you think could become a prayer?
  • Is there any activity you do that you cannot imagine ever being a prayer? If so, what is it?

Preparation:  “I believe that anything we do that honors, strengthens, or deepens our relationship to God can become a form of prayer. Does this mean that anything we do can become a prayer? Yes, but everything is not automatically a prayer. To fashion our actions into prayers, we need to examine our intention for the activity and God’s intention for us.

“When we broaden our concept of prayer, we are able to be attentive to God during much of our daily activities. I believe that making all we do a form of prayer is what the apostle Paul meant when he told his disciples to pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17). It is also what Brother Lawrence, the seventeenth-century monk who made all his kitchen chores prayer, called “practicing the presence of God.”

“As you reflect on this belief, be aware that how you were taught to pray may influence your acceptance or rejection of this understanding of prayer. If you were taught that the only right way to pray was sitting with your head bowed and your hands folded, this idea may seem very strange. If you were taught that God needed certain words form a contrite heart, the possibility of joyfully praying through exercise may push the limits of your belief.” (excerpts from pp  44-46)

Answered and Unanswered Prayer

“When people witness to others about their prayer lives, they often tell of the prayers that have been answered. They tell of being healed or an answer received when they were struggling with a decision. These stories are important but so are the experiences of prayers that were not answered. We need to explore the effects unanswered prayers have on our faith.” (p. 50).

“Remember a time when you believe God answered your prayers. Was the answer immediate or one you recognized later? Do you think it is more accurate to say that God intervened or that God participated in your life?

“Remember a time when your prayers were not answered, some time when you desperately wanted God to intervene and God did not. How long did you continue to pray for help or for answers? How did you feel about the unanswered prayers? What did you think and how did you feel about God?

“What keeps you praying when your prayers are unanswered?

“How do these experiences shape your understanding of God in your life?  (excerpts from pp. 51-52)

If you pray for God’s will to be done and the person you pray for gets sicker, should you rejoice or be sorry?

What do you pray for when asked to share the ordinance of Administration? What if the person asks you to pray for a named outcome?