Pastor’s ponderings

This week I have been reading a book entitled, “Lord, Teach us Pastors to Pray!”  In it, the author cites Luke 5:15-16 as the central text:

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (NRSV)

How often do you think pastors pray?  Sure, they are the first ones to do so during our time of worship, before meetings or meals, or when asked to do so over a matter affecting a church member’s life, but the question that lies at the heart of this book is – how often do pastors take time to pray otherwise?  We are regularly called to what is called ritualistic prayer – those times of prayer during the service, meetings or meals.   We are quick to pray with or for someone else in need.  Yet, the author identifies that pastors often take little other time to pray, to just talk to God about what is transpiring in their own life – to have some time of relational prayer.  Why?  Well, just like Jesus, we find ourselves consistently caught up in the needs of the people, hearing their requests, helping with their situations, healing where we can.  It is a constant state of being on the go, that we feel there is not much time for anything else.

            Here the author calls us to take another hard look at verse 16.  Even Jesus took time away from it all to pray, to just talk to his Dad about all that was going on, to communicate what joys he had experienced and what still weighs heavy upon his heart.  He would regularly and consistenly just lay it all out for God to hear.  There was nothing ritualistic about it; they were just talking.  It was all about their relationship and ensuring the lines of communication in that relationship were always open.

            I know many people who are uncomfortable with “ritualistic” prayer.  Those times of public prayer where they are afraid of how they might stumble over their words, or what other people might think about what they have to say. (Why else do you think pastors are usually the first to be called upon to do so?)  But, it also make me wonder, how comfortable are you with “relational” prayer?  Do you take regular opportunities to just talk with God?  I’m not saying going to God with a list of the things that you want done in your life, but just openly conveying how your day is going?  I know some of my favorite memories of my son’s early years were when he would get home from school and we’d ask – so, how was your day?  To this, he would respond with a seemingly never-ending play-by-play of the events, talking in such excitement of the great times he had had.  Maybe this is what God wants to hear from you today.  Hear as the Father asks, “How was your day?”  What will you have to say to Him?                                   

Pastor Steve

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