hope these concerns make it into their personal pray-
ers, but I do not know. I guess it comes down to the rea-
sons for specific prayers. For us, congregational prayer
is a community-building time, and so I appreciate the
requests for help and the of-
fering of thanks for what we
I agree. I too appreciate our
congregational prayer time as
a time of community-building.
What I would add, though, is
that prayers modelled after
what we see in Scripture are
an essential part of such community-building. If Scripture
is our authority and guide in other areas, why not here?
We also can’t overlook the connection between community-building and spiritual maturity. Rev. Jonathan
Beers of Timberlea Baptist Church in Nova Scotia express-es it this way: “In my experience, prayers of the congregation at first are very self-focused, but as people grow they
become more community-focused and Kingdom-focused.”
As disciples of Jesus we’re called to participate in
God’s ongoing story of salvation, of bringing creation
and history to eschatological completion. Surely our
prayers should reflect this.
And is this not how Jesus taught His disciples to pray?
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your
kingdom come, your will be done.” Only after lifting
these words to the throne of grace are we then invited
to pray, “Give us this day our
Praying such prayers also
enables us to see our other
needs and requests within
a much larger perspective.
Knowing God is at work
bringing all things to His purposeful end not only enables
us to face life in all its present
brokenness with hope, but
frees us to praise our Lord and God with confidence for
what He is doing and will do, whether or not answers to
our other petitions are immediately forthcoming.
This is so because, of course, it is with the return of
Jesus that all our prayers are ultimately answered. And
shouldn’t our present praying give witness to this? I pray
it does. Ft
“god also intends our prayers to be
one of the ways
we participate in his
dErEK MELANSoN of nerepis, n.B., is pastor
of nerepis Baptist Church.
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