Monday, June 07, 2010

The dynamics of prayer...

There is a strange dynamic in corporate prayer. Maybe you've noticed it yourself, or maybe its just me.

Every now and again in a corporate prayer setting, like a prayer meeting or - in the specific instance I'm thinking of here - during 'ministry time' in a church service, an odd thing happens.

I don't know about you, but for me in a corporate prayer setting, I never jump right in straight away when someone else has finished praying, I usually leave a gap. And during this gap I generally formulate what I'm going to pray for when I open my mouth. And quite often, someone else will start praying before me, and - weirdly - will start praying for the exact same thing I was about to pray for.

This has happened to me too many times for it to be coincidence. Clearly there is a dynamic going on in prayer beyond me just phrasing the words to say and saying them. Something external to me inspires me to pray certain things.

Of course, I'm assuming that this external factor is the Spirit of God.

It happened on Sunday morning this week. I was praying with two others for a guy in the church. During a moment's silence I decided that I would pray for God to bless the guy's business - which was not really connected to the things we'd just been praying for. And just as I was about to open my mouth, one of the other guys jumped in and started praying for the profitability of the guy's business.

So what I'm noticing is this - in a corporate prayer setting, the Spirit of God inspires you to say certain things to God. In other words, God decides what we ask him for.

So who benefits from such a prayer? If God knows what we're going to pray for, because he Himself decided it, what is the point? Why bother involving me in the process?

I once heard it said that when we pray, we move the hands of God. But if we're moving the hands of God to the place that he decided to move them to anyway, what is our involvement in it worth?

Is it for the benefit of me - the person doing the praying, or for the benefit of the guy being prayed for? Indeed, I have had this experience in settings when we've been praying for people far away, so I guess its - in part - for the benefit of the person doing the praying.

But I find it an odd dynamic.

Anyone else have this experience? Anyone got any insight?