Meditation Monday, June 21, 2021

“There are no experts in the company of Jesus. We are all beginners…”

Eugene Petersen, preface to The Jesus Way, p. 12

Have you ever been to a church meeting and experienced the awkward silence when the leader asks “Who would like to open/close us in prayer?” Or, “Who will lead the devotions next time?” Those questions seem to rank right up there with asking a woman her weight or age. Trying to answer that question, or coming up with a reason you’d rather not, causes an epidemic of squirms. Why? Well, we often come to  church meetings with our minds full of many different things, and it can be hard to change gears. We go from our daily life right into “planning things in Jesus’ name.” We may even feel a of stab of guilt for not being on our toes spiritually when we come to church.

Why is it difficult for many of us to pray “in public?” Sometimes it might be that we are struggling in our personal prayers. We may have good intentions to pray daily and meditate on the Bible, but it doesn’t always happen. We let our lives get cluttered with to-do lists, routines, and other distractions. This can lead to shame and feeling that one is not a “Good Christian.” We may even feel this disqualifies us for leading prayer or devotions in public.

It may be helpful for us to remember that we are not the rugged individualists culture says we are. There is a better way to identify what it means to be in the family of God. We are in a community of mutuality. We are to be characterized by a willingness to help each other in following Jesus. We are to encourage each other to speak and act in Jesus’ name. We aren’t experts. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. There is space for grace. Praying out loud doesn’t have to be “profound” or be long. We are simply talking and listening to Jesus together when we pray. We don’t analyze each other’s prayers, we join in the prayer. 

If you are someone who finds praying in public difficult, perhaps you could offer to do so, trusting that the Holy Spirit will give you the words. So, who would like to close us in prayer? 

“Ok, I will.”

“Lord, lead us and guide us in your way. Help us to listen well to you and to love those you put in our lives. Give us the words to speak when our tongues seem to be tied. Amen.”