The state of prayer life in the church


How is the state of prayer life in the church? Do people know how to pray? Are they trained at all by their parents, teachers and pastors?

The last “prayer” event that I attended was really a very strange experience. Before the time somebody was asked to share (preach?) and made a few very strange and generalised statements about the church and the life of most Christians in general. Afterwards nobody had the time (and guts) to challenge this before we broke up in small groups to pray.

In the group I attended, at first there was a long uncomfortable silence. I tried to open our group’s prayer by reading a few verses from scripture, but this doesn’t open up any more prayer at first.

Then somebody started to pray (it sure must have been praying, as his eyes was closed?), but I would rather call it “a strong speech”. He seriously challenged what the ‘preacher’ said, as well as touching other more personal like more  “political issues” that bothers him and he want to put it on the tabel (now and then using the name of God in between).

Eish, that was indescribably frustrating and not of any spiritual value for me personally. What can one do?

The following post about this subject was published in 10/40 Window reporter.

Lord Teach us to pray:

A great tragedy has fallen upon many praying people – and it too could come upon you if you are not careful.  What do you think of when I say, “Praying to the listening ears of people?” Not much came to mind the first time the Lord said it to me.

We can all agree that prayer in its simplest form is communicating with God.

However, when praying in a group of people, we can become more concerned about how others evaluate the power and eloquence of our verbal prayers.  It’s a natural tendency of mankind to want to be seen, noticed and affirmed.  Yet when those desires attach themselves to our corporate prayers, we inevitably cease to pray unto God, and begin praying to the listening ears of people.  “They will think I’m a powerful man or woman in prayer.”

The enemy seeks to take that which is good and pervert or twist it. The power of prayer that comes from this heart then, becomes null and void.  How does the enemy do this with our corporate prayer life? The answer is by corrupting our motives in prayer, by seeking to be known and identified as a praying man or woman among others.

When you are praying, you should have no other motive than to be heard by your Father in Heaven, co-laboring for His will to come to pass on earth as it is in Heaven.

A few practical ideas for prayer in small groups:

  1. Reminds people every time:When you are praying, you should have no other motive than to be heard by your Father in Heaven, co-laboring for His will to come to pass on earth as it is in Heaven.” The rest of the group’s task and aim is to agree and confirm the prayer of the one praying. (The African style differs in that everybody is praying as loud as possible on his own way and with his own intension. No comments from my side at this stage. May they be blessed!)
  2. Prayer is not a reminder to God of your list of needs, but all for His glory and for the coming of His kingdom (The ‘Our Father’ prayer in Mat. 6 and other prayers in the Bible serves as good examples how to pray)

May God blesses your Prayer life in your Church and small group.


One response to “The state of prayer life in the church

  1. Ds Adriaan van Tonder van Tzaneen Wolkberg het kosbare kommentaar hierop gegee en ek wil dit graag deel:
    Chris, baie dankie vir jou stuk oor gebed, ek stem 100% met jou saam. Ek dink ons gebruik gebed om aan die Here inkopielyste of beswaarskrifte te oorhandig en daarmee verloor ons die krag en wonder van gebed.

    ’n Boek wat vir my persoonlik baie beteken het oor gebed is Phillip Yancey se “Gebed? Maak dit enige verskil” (Die Afrikaanse weergawe van Prayer: Does it make a difference?) asook werke van Willem Nicol. Ek lees graag oor die ou Kerkvaders en as daar een uitstaande kenmerk van hulle almal is dan is dit dat gebed ’n wesenselement van hulle geloofslewe was – en ek staan verstom oor die lang tye wat hulle aan refleksie en stilte afgestaan het bloot om in God se teenwoordigheid te mag wees.

    My goeie vriend, Ds. Dopper Erasmus het eenkeer gesê: Gebed bring ons nie in kontak met God nie, dit bring ons in TEENWOORDIGHEID van God en dit het ’n fenomenale invloed uitgeoefen oor hoe ek die afgelope 6 jaar oor gebed dink en ook bid.
    Mag julle ook in julle gebedslewe die teenwoordigheid van God ervaar en mag dit vir julle krag en inspirasie gee vir die taak waarmee julle besig is.

    Baie seën in Hom wat ons stuur en toerus vir Sy diens,

    Adr. JP von H van Tonder (VDM)
    Ned Geref Kerk Tzaneen Wolkberg