I’ve been thinking about prayer a lot lately. I’ve been convicted that if prayer is the engine of mission, then I’m not as missional as I thought! On Sunday, I confessed that I’ve been engaged, in the words or Richard Lovelace, in horizontal communication at the expense of vertical communication.
The proportion of horizontal communication that goes on in the church (in planning, arguing, and expounding) is overwhelmingly greater than that which is vertical (in worship, thanksgiving, confession and intercession…The old midweek prayer meetings for revival have vanished from the programs of most churches or have been transformed into Bible studies ending with minimal prayer. - Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 153
How about you? Horizontal better than your vertical? Maybe we need to bring the old mid-week prayer meeting back! How about your missional communities or small groups? Have they devolved into Bible Studies that simply tack prayer on at the end?
And how about your praying? In order to grow in my intercessory praying, I told our church that if they filled out a card with a prayer request I would pray for them once a week for the rest of the year. It’s already increased my joy in prayer and in mission. I plan on doing this several times a year.
Also, I can’t recommend enough Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life. It takes prayer off of top-shelf spirituality and places it in the everyday person’s hands. Insightful, gospel-centered, and inspiring.