One of the big perennial questions or concerns of new leaders in the church is prayer. Not feeling comfortable praying out loud or more likely, not really knowing what to say is a fear very common in church leaders who are asked to pray. I'm not really sure where this fear comes from. It could be that pastors who are expected to develop a prayer-life over many years of preparation for ministry and throughout our various calls simply look way more comfortable than we really are. Or it could be that those who are less than comfortable praying aloud have seen one too many professional pray-ers and believe that they, themselves, come up short.
But when we turn to the Bible and see snippets of prayer or worship in the Scriptures themselves what is often astonishing to me is how simple and God centered prayer is. Gone are the long-winded prayers that last an eternity, the poetically articulate prayers of note are somewhat missing and in their place what is it that we see?
Well, for instance, take verse eight of chapter four in John of Patmos' Revelation. After John describes the heavenly thrown room of God and the various creatures that inhabit the eternal presence of God almighty we are given a hearing of what the eternal song of praise is when John writes:
"Day and night without ceasing they sing, 'Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.'"It really is beautiful in it's simplicity isn't it? It may not be what many people have in mind when they think about prayer, especially if prayer is about asking. But if prayer is about forming our relationship with, to, and for God, then what better prayer than one praising God?
As you continue to move along the path of Advent that culminates in our celebrations of the birth of the One "who was and is and is to come" may your prayer life be just as filled with prayers of praise to God for being God as much as you prayer by asking. For when you do so, I believe you will begin to see how many of your prayers God is already answering.