I don’t recall the first time I prayed.
Since I was born to two believers who pray often, I’m sure it was around the age when my language started developing in other ways. I can remember taking time to pray as a family each Sunday morning over homemade cinnamon rolls. In high school, I joined a group of students each morning before the 1st period bell to pray for our teachers and classes. In college, I attended a prayer meeting each Tuesday night focused on the needs of missionaries around the globe. As a pastor’s wife, I continue to pray regularly with my church family.
I guess I could say that prayer has become second-nature to me. I easily volunteer to pray out loud in social situations. My husband and I share times of prayer with both each other and our children. It has become natural thing to take my concerns and praises before the throne of God.
In my comfort, though, I have lost my awe of the privilege and calling of prayer. That’s why I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to have recently read, Praying Together, by Megan Hill. She beautifully reminds us of the foundation of praying together, the fruit of corporate prayer, and the practical outworking of the first two in our churches and homes.
She begins by emphasizing the fact that prayer is all about relationship. Many of us have heard teaching and preaching on the need to go beyond lists of requests and complaints in our prayer times remembering that we are participating in a two-way conversation with our Heavenly Father. I was especially struck, however, with Megan’s point that we are never alone in our praying because we are interacting with the entire Godhead – the Trinity. This removes the pressure of praying perfectly because “the one-in-three in whom we trust lovingly takes all our prayers, cleanses them of sin, and reorients them to match his holy will.” What a reassuring point!
Many look at the modern Church and see strife and discord among her members. Could it be that many of our local congregations have forgotten the importance of joining together with a common Savior and an common cause? We have forgotten the rewards of praying together. Megan spends time discussing the sweet unity and deep bond that develops when people from different backgrounds take time to approach the throne of grace with one another. The result can only be a unified relationship which allows us to truly share in both the joys and burdens of our brothers in Christ.
The final third of Praying Together focuses on the how-to of corporate prayer. What does prayer look like in our church services, with our best friend, or with our dinner guests? I especially loved the section on praying with your children. According to the book, “As Christian parents, our first responsibility to our children is to pray in front of them and on their behalf“. It is from our prayers as a family that our children learn both how to pray and key theological truths that will deepen their knowledge of God. When praying, both the parent and the child approach the God of the universe on equal footing (through the blood of Jesus) and with the same neediness.
This book is packed with both theological truth and practical points for all believers. It could be used for a small group study using the discussion/reflection questions at the end of the book. She reminds all of us (whether we’ve been praying for 3 days or 30 years) that praying together is a treasure worth cherishing. Personally, it filled my heart with a renewed passion to value this privilege and use it often with my brothers and sisters.
**I received a free digital copy of this book from Crossway for review.