Published August 18, 2009

Paul's Epistle...

Nearly a year ago, Kim Collingsworth of the Collingsworth Family shared in the family's newsletter some interesting observations about today's church. Here is what she wrote, and it's as relevant today – probably even more so – than it was then.

- Paul

"Where's The Prayer?"
by Kim Collingsworth

I met a lady some time ago who was on staff at a large, beautiful church where we were invited to sing. She was quite proud of their new facility and rightfully so. I was sitting on the front row preparing to sing when she walked up to me and began to tell me of all the events that go on at their exciting church each night of the week.

I was amazed when she started with Monday night and went all the way down through Sunday. There was literally a scheduled activity every single night in their church. To my surprise and disappointment, not once did she mention a night being designated for a prayer meeting or some form of prayer time. I couldn't believe it.

It made me wonder — could this be the reason that some of our churches that appear to be bustling with activity are lifeless, cold, not producing new converts, and, at best, lethargic in their worship? Their bulletin boards are full of announcements inviting you to one event after another, but rarely do you find a schedule for prayer. Prayer meetings have been replaced with sports activities, dinners and anything else that sounds exciting and fun.

Now, before you mark me off and quit reading this, let me say, I think those activities are very important. We have three teenagers in our house who love a good ballgame or fun activity, and they should. As Christians, we need community, and what better place to have fellowship than with our Christian friends. I also understand that as time moves on, sometimes our methods will change to a degree (not our message), and that's all well and good within reason.

Having said that, there's one thing I hope we never forget as a body of believers. While there are many substitutes and different ways to accomplish things, there has never been a substitute for prayer and there never will be! God still rewards those who diligently seek him. He still lends his ear to the ones that get serious about finding Him. I long to see the fervency that is automatically wed to a diligent seeker. Somehow you just know when they've been in the presence of Jesus. It's an undeniable spirit that is contagious. It splashes over into our church services. When a spirit of prayer prevails, good things happen. Sinners are attracted to this Jesus that they see working in our lives, and the most cold-hearted professing Christians are stirred to do something about their complacency.

I heard a preacher once say, "If you don't have a desire to seek God, ask God to give you that desire." I can tell you from experience, he will answer that prayer one hundred percent.

May God help us to have the discipline to say "No" to the things that will distract us away from God, and help us to get back to praying and seeking and enjoying the amazing results that prayer will always bring. (Jeremiah 33:3)

(Used by permission.)

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