“Do we pray about everything?!” he asked in whispered desperation during a church prayer one Sunday. I shushed him but smiled and contemplated his inquiry.
After that prayer was complete, I perused the bulletin and made a mental tally.
-Gathering, Announcements, Prayer of Centering (at the very beginning of the service)
-Sharing of Joys and Concerns (after the beginning)
-Apostle’s Creed and Prayer of Affirmation (before Scripture reading)
-Congregational Prayer (after the children’s moment)
-Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer (before offering)
-Scripture Reading and Prayer (before sermon)
-Prayer of Commission (after sermon)
-Benediction (prior to leaving)
Our service is NOT four hours long. It’s the standard one hour service. But after considering the order of worship, I realized that a third of that time is occupied in prayer. Prayers of the pastor, prayers of the people, silent prayer, meditation after prayer, prayers before action, prayers after action…
I reconsidered my son’s question–Do we pray about everything?!
Why is so much of our church service used for prayer? We pray before we start, we pray just after we start. We pray for those who are ill and absent, and we pray when the Word is shared with children who are present. We pray before we hear the Word and after we hear the Word. As we began with prayer, we end with prayer before we re-enter the world from our worship experience. Every activity we attempt, we bathe in prayer. We approach God with our intentions and ask His direction. We return to Him later to request his blessing. We plead for answers, we ask for patience while waiting, we praise Him for the outcome. We turn all our actions over to His divine plan.
Church is the holiest place we encounter all week. If we this often in THIS place, then how much more often should we pray throughout our week? Before we get out of bed, while we’re drinking the morning joe, on the way to work, before we enter work, throughout the workday and on the way home again. Before we enter challenging situations, in the midst of them, and after them.
I Thessalonians 5:17 advises that we “Pray continually”...and verse 18 goes on to say “…giving thanks to God in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Pray continually. All the time. About everything. Before, during, and after. Everything.
So, yes, son, we do pray about everything, as we well should.
Photo credit: http://www.karipatterson.com/long-view-short-prayers/