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Cultivating a culture of prayer

Written by Etienne Piek*

Dear Mergonites

What an amazing time it is to be alive and serving God, knowing that we are not dependant on our own strength or abilities but His grace and His providence. We have spoken in broad terms about the importance of prayer in all that we do here at Mergon and in the months to come we aim to create more opportunities for corporate and personal prayer at the respective offices. As our different offices have a somewhat different rhythm and culture, we would like to invite each office to build and foster their own rhythms of prayer to fit their context.

From our side we will be sending regular updates on the many aspects of prayer and we would love to receive your feedback, input and testimonies.

Let’s start off with what Prayer is!

As a group we respond to God’s call in 1 Tim. 4:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Prayer is seen not as a function or isolated discipline, but indeed as an integrated lifestyle that is centre to the life of a Christ-follower. As John Wesley put it: “God will do nothing but in answer to prayer. Whether we think of, or speak to, God, whether we act or suffer for him, all is prayer, when we have no other object than his love, and the desire of pleasing him. Proceed with much prayer, and your way will be made plain.”

Prayer is in a sense much more about the pray-er as it is about the prayer. When we respond to God’s invitation to “ask in His Name” it is as much about what happens within the one who prays than what he/she prays for. Prayer is relationship and it is within the confines of this relationship that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is released to change the heart of the pray-er towards His Kingdom and the things that breaks His heart.

Prayer is simple words from simple people towards their heavenly Father to see His Kingdom come. It is often expressed in wordless adoration and waiting upon God to move in the heart of the pray-er and therefore not a forced rhythm filled with impressive and theologically loaded words.

Prayer will be fostered as a relationship/conversation between God and His called people, acknowledging different kinds of prayers at different times by different kinds of people. In the words of Richard Foster: “And so I urge you: carry on an ongoing conversation with God about the daily stuff of life, a little like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. For now, do not worry about ‘proper’ praying, just talk to God.”

Let’s pray!

(Etienne Piek* is the Regional Manager (South Africa) at the Mergon Foundation)

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