My pastor has started a Wednesday night prayer meeting. A good ole-fashioned, lets get together, call out prayer requests, prayer meeting. I gotta tell you. I have missed that. It may sound strange that it is such a novelty for a church to have a prayer meeting but in Larger churches, it happens less than you think. Oh, there are prayer groups, prayer classes, prayer in front of church, prayer in pastoral offices, prayer over the phone... But how many times, for those of you in big churches, have you all met for the simple purpose of prayer? Well we did and it was something else.
No big spectacular winds came down from heaven, thrusting us into emotional ecstasy. No one fell over in the isles laughing. There were just honest people, giving thanks and offering prayer for each other. Only one word can come to mind to describe this event.
Every thing just seemed so clear. That, in my opinion is what the Holy Spirit brings. Clarity. I use that word cautiously. It wasn't like I was seeing something I had never seen before, it was more like being with the same people and noticing something that had been there all along. We were people of one faith, one hope, one baptism, one Spirt, one Lord and one Father of all, vulnerable and talking to the Father - together.
I think we forget that Spirit does not equal emotions. Prayer doesn't cause goosebumps. Spiritual things work regardless of our emotions, our stage of life, our ups and downs, it moves regardless if it 'feels' true or not. In the best moments of prayer you are in line with the teaching of the church for the past 2000 years. You find yourself saying something and then reading the same thing in C.S. Lewis three days later.
It is beautiful that the Church is always praying. Somewhere around the world at all times, someone, or some congregation is offering prayers. God asks the body to pray without ceasing and thank God that it is. So we played our little part in that offering the other night.
-Talking to God in a setting and tradition that has been going on without ceasing for the past 2000 years.
Pretty Humbling and powerful stuff.