Somethings Just Aren't 'Old Fashioned'

Somethings Just Aren't Old Fashioned by Pastor Brian Stanley, Regular Contributor
When I was a kid there was this phrase our pastor and leaders used, 'a corporate call to prayer'. When this term was used it seemed to imply, 'hey, we all need to come together as a church to pray for such and such thing at such and such time.' Corporate calls to prayer were of course not heavily attended, but they were rarely ignored.  They were a critical function and responsibility of the entire church fellowship. And we all seemed to understand how vitally important praying together was both in terms of moving God to action and moving the ball forward in our mission.

Flash forward 20+ years however and if a pastor makes a 'call to corporate prayer' he might as well be asking for someone to donate a kidney - judging by our attitude and response towards such a notion.  It seems like such an outdated idea, this thing called 'corporate prayer'.  But is it? It seems like something only grandma wants to do, but should it be?  In most cases, the honest truth is that we all would just rather be doing something more fun on a Saturday night than praying, but is that the right attitude towards prayer?  In other cases we always seem to be too busy, but should we be too busy to pray? And finally, maybe we just don't like the way these things work when you come to these 'prayer meetings', but is that an excuse that will withstand God's scrutiny? Why is it that we only seem to respond to a call to prayer when we're guilted into it?  I dunno, I am guilty myself...

So whether it be that we are too busy, its too boring, its not comfortable, its old-fashioned, etc., we have excuses a-plenty.  I wonder how our excuses play into the plans the enemy has for our lives and churches, and how our excuses contribute to our spiritual stagnancy or the miracles and breakthroughs our lives and churches need so very much? I wonder...

The long and short of it is that the Christian's need to pray, is unequivically necessary and fundamentally necessary to being a Christian. The mandate for Christians to pray together is as equally necessary and mandated by scripture. There are dozens and dozens of scriptures calling us to prayer, below are just a couple to stir our memory:

Matthew 21:13
“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

Ephesians 6:18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

I think the most troublesome part however, is not that scripture commands us to pray and we don't, it's that scripture outlines compelling reasons to pray - not the least of which is to talk to and build relationship with our heavenly Father, but we simply don't want to. We have our excuses and they seem very reasonable. But should be comfortable with them?  Each time I have this conversation with myself and others I feel greatly convicted and convinced that I should behave and respond differently towards prayer. The truth of the matter is that I still at times must make myself do what I know I ought to do. I very much want prayer to be a defining activity in my life, not just the spiritual garnish that only makes things look pretty but adds nothing substantive to the plate of my faith.

When it comes to praying with others, I believe its something we should take very seriously. I am not content to make excuses when a brother in Christ needs a miracle, or people of the church are under spiritual attacks over and over. I refuse to accept the notion that prayer meetings are old-fashioned or not geared for the fast-paced lives we live. If that is where we find ourselves, then we are in desperate need of prayer ourselves. Prayer for the callousness of our heart, prayer over the selfish lives we lead, and prayer for our spiritual shallowness and backwards priorities.  That I know seems harsh, but its a truth we cannot deny.

We live in a time and day when prayer is needed more than ever. We need God's presence and intervention in our lives, church, and culture in an extremely critical fashion.  If prayer is the last thing on your list, and corporate prayer is even lower, I plead with you to tune into the heart of the Father and trade in your many excuses; simply get on your knees and do business with God in a very old-fashioned way.  Prayer makes a difference, prayer moves mountains, when we pray God works, 'a family that prays together'... All the cliché's are true. BUT, one would have to actually pray to see them in motion. I sure want to see God about you?

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