Dear Church Family,
Throughout my years of ministry, I have been puzzled at why so many people have an aversion to the spiritual discipline of prayer. Most all believers believe in the importance of prayer. They believe that communication to our God is important. They believe in the power of prayer. They believe that God hears and that prayer matters. But there is a disconnect somewhere along the way because so many believers do not have a vibrant regular prayer life.
I am reading a book called Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church by John Onwuchekwa. In it the author shares a quote about the importance of prayer. “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” This quote reminds us that prayer is essential for our very existence. The author goes on to share… “breathing is necessary for everything we do. It enables every activity. Likewise, prayer is basic and vital. It is tied to our present existence and perpetual endurance. Prayer is breathing. There’s no better metaphor of what prayer should be for the Christian.”
I am convinced that we as a church family need to be “breathing” prayer on a much more regular and consistent basis. Yes, we need to “breathe” individually, but as the body of Christ we need to “breathe” together in the spiritual discipline of prayer. Prayer is the oxygen that we need to sustain us in all that God has planned for us as a local body of believers.
But for us to “breathe” together in prayer, we have got to know how to pray. The simple acrostic A.C.T.S. helps us to understand four types of prayer found in scripture. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Adoration is a prayer of praise to the God whom we cry out to. By praising Him we show that we understand that it is an honor to be able to cry out to God prayer. We recognize in our prayer of adoration who God is in all His perfection and greatness. Adoration is foundational to our prayer life because it helps remind us who we are praying to, and the great privilege that it is. Confession is a prayer that should naturally come from us if we take the time to praise God for who He is and all He has done for us. As we reflect on God’s grace and forgiveness through Christ, we’re led to confess. Prayers of Thanksgiving should easily flow from our lips after considering all the greatness and goodness of God and his willingness to forgive us of all our sin. We have so much to be thankful for, especially if we keep in mind that all that we have comes from God and not ourselves. And finally, Supplication is that prayer that we offer to God that declares our absolute need for Him. As we cry out to God to intercede in our lives or in the lives of others, we are recognizing His care for those that make him their refuge.
Over the course of this year we are going to “breathe” out these prayers together as the body of Christ. I know that God will be glorified, and we will be edified if we prioritize prayer in our church family. I am excited to see how God moves among us as we heighten the sense of urgency to pray together in our church! I desire for our church to be alive, and to be alive we must “breathe” out these prayers to our great God!!
I love you and I love being your pastor