Saturday, 5 March 2011

Power of Prayer

This was published elsewhere but . . .

Part of the job description of a Vicar is ‘to pray for everyone’.

This is just part of the Ordinary of Priestly life - a powerful reminder of the significance of which can be found here - getting on with the ‘mundane’ task of praying for people.

No show, no howling or pleading, just praying, quietly, day after day. Praying for ‘those in need of a doctor’.

Just in the last few days I have been musing - again :)

Firstly on the extraordinary privilege of all of this, but secondly wishing that more might catch a vision of what is going on when we pray and how part of the power of prayer is ever so mundane that we might totally miss it.

The phrase, ‘The Power of Prayer’ is almost uniquely associated with ‘extraordinary manifestations’, but in so doing misses the most extraordinary manifestation of all, the physical transformation of the human heart. We don’t expect or perhaps want the power of prayer to be ‘simply’ a physiological effect. Somehow we think less of this, suspecting it may give our opponents more fuel if it were shown that such a link were true.

But heart is not just a metaphor in this regard. It is both spiritual and physical. We forget this. Hardness of heart has been shown unfailingly over the years to be both physical and spiritual. How many bitter folk die untimely due to coronary disease . . .

Prayer deals with the physical as much as the spiritual when we seek conversion. It is ’mundane’

I recently was called upon to pray in public for ‘an enemy’. I heard the sharp intake of breath and at the same time the words of Jesus ‘I have come for those in need of a doctor’ I have come for those in need of prayer. And I wondered as I prayed how we might view the enemy differently if instead of criticising them, we prayed for them. If we saw how we would be dealing not only with the priestly, but also the medical and . . . mused on how our own hard heartedness might be healed and we might ourselves enjoy more years of this earthly gift of life

Imagine having a terrible enemy - someone whose name you could barley bring to your lips - and then imagine praying for them, asking God to bless them, asking God for their good and not their ill . . . it takes only the smallest act of the imagination to see how in so doing our hearts would be changed, and richly so.

Perhaps that is why so few do

Perhaps that is why we still like to think ‘it’s the Vicar’s job’

It is an extraordinary privilege - I just wish more would join in. The change might well be something to behold

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