One of the things that I have learned in my ministry is that people have difficulties, not only speaking in public, but also praying in public. I am no different from them; at least I was not. I remember my first experience praying in public; it was terrifying. I was a new disciple of Christ and the youth of our church invited me to attend a Synod Youth Conference in the capital of our state. Everything was exciting for me. I did not know that there were so many youth my age following Christ and going to church.
So, I decided to go to the event. We had many meetings, music, speeches, etc. But one day they assembled a large group in a room. We were seated in chairs in a large circle. Suddenly, the leader announced that we would have a prayer meeting, and everybody would have the opportunity to pray, beginning with the person beside him and going around the whole circle. He would close the meeting with his prayer.
I was petrified and happy at the same time. Petrified because I had never prayed in public and in front of so many people; happy because I was close to him on the opposite side. I confess that during that whole prayer meeting I was not able to pay attention to the prayers per se. I had a crash course on prayer. I learned how people started their prayers, what were the main requests, or expressions of praise and gratitude, how they used their intonation, and, the most important for me at that time, how they ended their prayers. I do not need to tell you that when my time came I had a pretty good prayer to offer.
The Bible exhorts us to pray for each other: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16.” Praying for each other should be a very important and common experience in the life of the church.
When was the last time that someone prayed for you? I am not asking about people who pray for you in their prayer rooms, or silently. I am asking when was the last time that someone came to you held your hands or put his or her hands on your shoulder and offered an out loud prayer for you? And what about you? Have you ever done something like that for someone?
The Bible encourages us to pray for one another. We should develop a personal discipline to pray for our brothers and sisters. But the Bible also encourages us to pray with one another. When was the last time that you participated in a prayer meeting? “Prayer meeting?” Yes, a meeting where people gather together JUST TO PRAY. Maybe for you that sounds weird. Yes, but a prayer meeting was a common meeting in the life of the church throughout history and in many parts of the world today. People meet in houses, churches, offices, even in public places, like coffee shops, to pray with and for each other.
I learned right in the beginning of my journey with Christ to pray with other people and for them. I also learned that the Bible is the best way to learn how to pray. But in a practical way you will learn with other people, until you are able to use your own words. You do not need to be a psalmist to pray. You just need to love the Lord and love your brothers and sisters. A prayer meeting is like a family meeting; brothers and sisters talking with their Dad, asking things for them and for their siblings.
Have a blessed week,