With his mouth half-full and chocolate crumbs on his cheeks, my son mumbled to me “It’s yum, but it tastes a bit weird.” I’d made a batch of delicious (in my opinion) brownies for the kid’s afternoon tea. The secret was, they were, in fact, sweet potato brownies. Vegetables, of course, are important for my kid’s physical health, so if I can sneak extra vegetables into their diet through an innocent snack, I’ll do it! Thankfully, as adults our understanding of the importance of healthy foods in our diet means we don’t need to be tricked into eating them in a brownie slice (mind you, they really are delicious)!
Similarly, prayer is incredibly important to our spiritual health. But I’m not sure we always recognise that in our day-to-day busy lives. Prayer is the way we communicate with God and praise Him. When we pray, we worship God and recognise Him for who He is and what He has done. In prayer we ask for His will to be done. In prayer we ask for God to provide for our needs and the needs of others. In prayer we ask for strength to overcome temptation and for peace in times of trouble.
But do you know what else I find incredible about prayer? The fact that, like a good earthly father, our Heavenly Father loves it when we ‘speak’ with him. He loves it when we pray! I appreciate what Megan Hill writes about prayer in her book, Praying Together. She says ‘The Father’s desire to hear the prayers of his children is so radical that he says, “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear” (Isa. 65:24). By the time we clear our throats, the Father is already listening. This is especially evident in the words of Jesus to his disciples: “In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (Jn. 16:26-27).’
At Oasis one of our Priorities is Life in Jesus; life lived in relationship with God, both now and forever. This gift of life is received through faith in Jesus and leads to a life lived for the glory of God. I love how we speak of enjoying life in Jesus in our Vision booklet. And of course, part of this is that ‘we enjoy life in Jesus as we deepen our devotion to prayer’ (Philippians 4:6). At Oasis we host quarterly prayer gatherings to give us opportunity to pray together. Hill goes on to write ‘…that God designed the church to be a community of believers who regularly pray together.’ Further she writes ‘…our commitment to corporate prayer hinges on our sense of its importance.’
My hope is that we will all acknowledge the importance of prayer in our life. Both personal prayer and corporate prayer. I hope we can cultivate rich and regular time in prayer alone and with others. Our upcoming Dinner and Prayer is on Tuesday the 22nd of March. I don’t think I need to say anything more than: I hope to see you there so that together we can pray together as God designed us to do. Oh, and I promise that dessert will not be vegetable-filled!