I remember it very clearly – it happened about 15 years ago when I took Mum to her first prayer meeting. It was a small meeting, mostly old faithfuls. As the meeting started and the first person started to pray I felt my mum grabbing my arm in a panic – she whispered, “He’s having a heart attack – somebody should do something”. The person she was referring to was the old guy who was praying. He started: Ooooohhhhhhh Ggggggooodddd… (A chocolate for the first person to guess who it was!) That was just his style of prayer!
Prayer meetings can be intimidating places – people talking eloquently to God, and with confidence, instructing God just what to do. One person I would have been intrigued to be at a prayer meeting with would have been the Apostle Paul – it would have been wonderful to hear him pray, but if he prayed like he wrote, then it might have also been intimidating. In his letter to the Colossians he wrote about what he prays for that church, it’s beautiful, but a bit overwhelming:
Colossians 1:9-12 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Paul’s prayer is so different from the way we normally pray. Normally we ask God what to do & tell him what to do, how to fix things and then add on the end ‘if it is your will’. Paul says here that he prays that the Colossians would be able to understand God’s will, be able to put that knowledge into action, having the endurance and patience to persevere because they know they belong to Him. My simple version of Paul’s pray is that we know would God’s mind, do God’s will, endure & praise Him. Not so intimidating but focused on God’s solutions rather than ours.
The next time you go to the prayer meeting don’t be intimidated – it can be interesting to check out the different styles, but just know that your Father God longs to hear from you.