Somebody asked me this week, "How is the prayer ministry going?" "What prayer ministry?" I gulped. Yes I had big plans. But the truth is I'd forgotten. But before that I'd given up. I'd been warned that nobody is really serious about prayer today. But I didn't believe it. I was wrong.
The primary calling of Benedictines is prayer. And I'm a professed Benedictine. Not because I'm good at prayer but because I'm bad at it. And, more importantly, because I believe in it. I'm absolutely convinced that prayer is the only hope for the mess that is America today and for the bigger mess that is the American church today.
Jesus said the church of God shall be known as a house of prayer for all people. At one time in our history that was true. And every revival in history was sparked by the fervent prayers of God's people for their neighbors at home and around the world. Even as a kid growing up--not that long ago--prayer meetings were the heart and soul of congregational life together. No longer. Tragically, the only place that's still true today is...your local mosque.
Most churches can't get three people together for a prayer meeting. (Though I did once manage to get half a dozen together for a prayer conference!) What about your church? Is it known in the community as a house of prayer for all people? What is it known for? What does it strive to be known for?
Seventeenth-century bishop Francis Turner was spot on: Morning and Evening Prayer together, every day of the week, if by any means in the world you can prevail with at least a few of your parishioners, is the best and most public good they can ever do in the places where they live, and the ministers should labour at it with as much application and zeal as the thing itself mightily deserves” (Martin Thornton, English Spirituality).
Let us pray!