Some of the churches I’ve attended have been very “pastor focused”. In other words, one guy ran the show, made the decisions, did all the stuff, and was the “main attraction”. In those types of churches, the congregation often seemed to have the mindset that living the Christian life was the pastor’s job, who was supposed to set them an example, and then they would try to live up to his example. When it came time to pray for a meal or a decision or a dying person, the question in everyone’s mind was, “Isn’t that the pastor’s job?” They seemed to believe that the pastor’s prayers were better, more accurate, more spiritual, more “heard by God” than their own prayers.
As believers, however, we are called to have a relationship with God our Father. We are called to make Jesus our “main attraction”. We are called to be “God focused”. We are called to be imitators of Christ (Eph. 5:1). In order to grow any relationship, there has to be communication, so prayer is our opportunity to communicate with God and build our relationship with him. It is our opportunity to focus our attention and our hopes on Jesus. It is also our opportunity to be like Jesus!
If you were to do a search of the word “pray” as it is used in the Gospels, you would discover three things. First, Jesus set an example for us by regularly going off by himself to pray. If we are to be like Jesus, we should also be spending time alone with God in prayer (see Matt. 14:23). Second, Jesus assumed we would be praying. Many times, he started out by saying, “When you pray…” (not “if” you pray!; see Matt. 6:5,6). Third, Jesus commanded us to pray (see Matt. 6:9, 9:38). He expects us to be praying!
So, the next time there is a church potluck, or you need to make a decision, or someone is sick, why wait for the pastor or prayer leaders to pray? God wants to hear from each one of us! It is good to ask others to pray for us, but it is important for us to also be talking to God about our own requests, as well as praying for other people’s requests. God isn’t grading your prayers or waiting for you to put them in just the right spiritual-sounding words. He wants you to come and talk to him about anything that concerns you. God cares deeply about you and wants to talk with you.
Don’t wait for other people to do the praying. You pray! God is waiting to hear from you!
– Teresa Egge