It isn’t as if we have a choice. Prayer is like breathing, or communicating with our fellow human beings. We do it, whether we want to or not. I doubt it will even cease after we take our last breath.
Far too often, the prayers uttered on our lips throughout our week (and even spoken by pastors on a Sunday) are selfish. They focus on what we think we want, how we want it, when it would be best for us. They are prayers focused inwardly on our community, and rarely take into account where the Spirit is at work outside of the 4 walls of our congregation.
I think these 40 days of prayer for the United Methodist Church are different from such self-serving prayers. Yes, it’s prayer for who we are as a people; but it is with the knowledge that we need God’s wisdom, not our own. It’s not prayer for a specific thing so much as for a way of looking at things, at ourselves, at our world. Of course, they aren’t perfect prayers. But they are rooted deeply in our experience and (poor) practice at being the people of God.
Over these next 40 days, let’s work together as a people–not to advance a particular political agenda, nor to put certain people in power, nor to marginalize a group–but to bend all of our collective will towards the discernment of where God is calling us. Invite your congregation to join in–I wrote about it in my church newsletter for this week. Share it with folks in your Annual Conference. Invite Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and blog readers. Spread the word that God is not finished with us yet!