How We Pray
Prayer is like water to the garden of our souls. It keeps us fresh and bearing fruit. Without it we wither and die.
Each week during the pastoral prayer, I do my best to lift our collective prayers to God. At times, this message is guided by our Scripture passages or theme for the day. Other times current events, special holidays or seasons take center stage. And almost every Sunday, room is made to lift specific prayers for those who are in special need: those who are ill and those caring for them, the grieving, the lonely, and so on.
I take very seriously this task of lifting our common prayers, knowing that our experiences and needs and confessions are varied. I and the other ministers do our best to speak with integrity and purpose for you before God.
And it is in this spirit that we are going to add a new aim to our prayers each week in worship.
After much reflection, I’ve felt that one area in which we can refine the manner in which we pray each week is to be more conscious in lifting up certain groups both within and apart from the church. Specifically, our service men and women, civic leaders and missions partners. While we have, from time to time, lifted these groups up, we’ve tended to do it on special occasions such as Independence or Memorial Day, or when our missions partners have a special role in worship.
I’d like to make this a more routine part of worship each week. It is important that we pray for our leaders and that we do it with regularity and integrity. It goes without saying that when we may be at odds with their policies or leadership, they still deserve our prayers. As for our missions partners, my hope is that in lifting them up more in our prayers, we will keep them and their ministries better on our hearts so that we might be inspired to greater support.
So, beginning in July we will take on a weekly rotation of prayer focus. This rotation may be adjusted as need be, but as we begin this new practice we will do so as follows:
First Sunday of the Month: Prayers for our service men and women both at home and abroad in the military, and all those who serve our country in different ways.
Second Sunday of the Month: Prayers for our national and world leaders, specifically the president and congress.
Third Sunday of the Month: Prayers for our state and local leaders: the governor, state legislature, mayor, county commissioners and law enforcement.
Fourth Sunday of the Month: Prayers for our missions partners: the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (Global and of Georgia), as well as all the many other organizations with whom we partner.
Fifth Sunday: Grab bag! We will use this time lift up specific ministries or other pertinent groups.
As I said, we may adjust this rotations as time goes by, but I hope you will join me in this renewed focus in our time of collective prayer each week. I’ll look forward to hearing your reflections on it, but I hope it will inspire and challenge each of us to be more intentional—and more empowered—when we pray. Let’s see what fruit it will bear.