Starting this Sunday we are going to be doing a three week preaching series on Prayer. Some assume, that for many in our nation prayer is a thing of the past, for a time when our nation was less advanced. Recent research by the Church of England found the picture to be very different:
‘Six out of seven people still believe that prayers can be answered despite a dramatic drop in formal religious observance, a study has found.’
‘Perhaps significantly, teenagers and people in their early 20s emerged as less likely to reject prayer than their parents’ generation.’
While in theory many of us think prayer is a great idea, full of amazing potential. It seems to me there is often a gap between theory and practice. Many of us seem to greatly struggle to pray, there certainly have been times in my life where I have found prayer difficult and frustrating. I doubt even the most mature and experienced prayers would ever dare claim that they don’t have more to learn about prayer.
Christian author Philip Yancey, say’s about prayer:
‘If prayer stands as the place where God and human beings meet, then I must learn about prayer. Most of my struggles in the Christian life circle around the same two themes: why doesn’t God act the way we want God to, and why I don’t act the way God wants me to. Prayer is the precise point where those themes converge.’
Prayer is the place where God and humans meet, prayer is a great privilege full of incredible possibilities. The aim of this series is to help all of us grow together in prayer, however experienced or inexperienced we currently feel we are. To help equip us to engage with God in a way that we can bring our struggles to him and grow as disciples of Christ.
The Apostle Paul writing to encourage a young leader Timothy, wrote ‘First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.’ Paul urges Timothy to teach the church he was in to ‘first of all’ pray, making prayer a priority in the cooperate life of the church. Prayer should surely be a central activity for any church, we want to continue to put prayer right at the centre of Emmanuel, seeking to continue to raise the value and priority we put on prayer throughout all we do together. While we can pray anywhere, anytime, on our own or with others, there is great importance in learning to be a Church family that loves, values and priorities praying together.
Very practically we have many settings at Emmanuel, where we gather to pray together as well as many informal opportunities for us to more spontaneously prayer for each other. There is lots of prayer that goes on across all of our Connect Groups, prayer meeting before every Sunday morning meeting (9:45-10:15), monthly men’s and women’s prayer meetings. Above all of these brilliant opportunities, please consider being at our whole Church prayer meetings, our next two are – Sun 13 Nov and Sun 4 Dec, 6:45-7:45pm in same room we meet in on Sunday morning at Oxford Spires Academy.
 Philip Yancey, Prayer, Does it make a difference? 2006
 1 Timothy 2:1-2