as a pastor, one of the burdens of my heart is the prayer life of my church. so, in an effort to grow in this area, i thought i would teach our core team this spiritual discipline over the course of four weeks. when i began to think about how i would teach this, i had to ask myself an even more basic question: what would make me feel like my church was prayerful? unpacking this quite a bit, i realized that deep inside, there’s a need for people to pray like me. i wanted people to be eloquent (ok, i may not be that eloquent, but enough to pass in a group prayer), comfortable praying in public, and sharing their prayers. but, is this what it’s about? i thought about my own journey and remembered a season when i wanted to listen and hear God. I remember being at a prayer retreat trying to listen to God when a 1st generation korean woman (these women are true prayer warriors) came up behind me and told me that i needed to start praying. i thought in my head, “but i’m listening for God.” she kept pounding my back and egging me on to pray. so, in a moment of frustration, i shout out, “God, IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME???!!! IS SHOUTING OUT TO YOU WHAT MAKES MY PRAYERS EFFECTIVE???!!! IS THIS WHAT MATTERS MOST???!!! THEN I’M TRULY LOST!!!” the woman looked at me said, “good… keep going…” i felt completely empty at that moment.
i realized that we enter into prayer in different seasons of life and in different ways because we’re in different places in our faith journey. i realized that we have different needs, different backgrounds, and different degrees of education. so would we or should we all pray the same? maybe as a leader, pastor, and teacher i’m called to help people find their voice in prayer. maybe i’m more of a barrier breaker than a method maker. maybe we’d all be more honest in prayer if it reflected who we are… have you found your voice?