Many of you know exactly what I’m saying . . . prayer functions as the table setter for whatever is next on your agenda.
At meal times, it’s what you get through so that you can do what you gathered around the table to do in the first place: eat! (And who in the world likes a long blessing before the meal? Good food, good meat, good God, let’s eat!)
In the early morning at my house, it’s what I get through so that I can hop in the car and come to work. And write my blog.
Before a meeting, it’s a get through so that you can then focus on the real purpose of the meeting which is, well, the meeting.
Before a pastoral counseling time, it’s a get through so that you can begin the counseling session itself.
Even as part of a hospital visit, it’s a get through before departing one hospital room for the next.
I fear that many of the get throughs that I list above become race throughs.
What would it look like to realize that prayer is not a get through in all those scenarios; it’s the reason you’ve come together in the first place?
Well, meals might take longer . . . but they’d likely recover a sense of the intimacy they were intended to have.
I’d come to work later. But more filled with the Spirit and more settled in my spirit.
Meetings might go in a far different direction than you planned because the Spirit sends the pray-ers where He wills and not where they desire.
Counseling sessions would be more productive because congregants would be aware that I as pastor don’t have solutions to their issues; that capacity belongs to God.
And hospital visits would become occasions for the patient to turn into pastor. Instead of regarding that prone person as a subject over whom we pray, we empower them to be in prayer for others. After all, God might well have put them on their back so they could better look up.
Prayer is not something to get through. It is a privilege to go to.