The National Day of Prayer was this past week. A day when we as Christians are supposed to get together and pray. What I don’t get is why we have a day set aside to do something as a nation that we should already be doing without ceasing. I understand that corporate prayer has it’s place, but it is one of those things that I have never felt really comfortable in.
I think I see a generational trend here as well (most of the people that showed up at my church were 40+). Other 20-30’s I’ve talked to have the same reservations that I have. Is scheduled corporate prayer something that our fore-generation started because it felt good to pray together, or does God actually call us to do this in the Bible? I hope to have the discipline to dive into The Word on my own to find the references to corporate prayer.
I began a conversation with a friend of mine on the topic and he started at the generational differences that are a key point of what I was noticing.
Philosophically, we are a “postmodern” generation, whereas our fore-generation was a “modern” generation, which was heavily influenced by Enlightenment thought. Because of that, we tend toward a different type of Christianity, worship, spirituality, authority, etc. An example, our generation is much less an empirical, evidence driven generation, insomuch that we don’t feel that to engage best with secular culture we need to reason through rational arguments for God/Christ as presented in Scripture. We believe that we best engage with secular culture by (within our own Christian sub-culture) holding the person of Christ as revealed in Scripture as the pre-eminent aspect of our faith, which drives us to authentically live out our faith in community – and then, into our worship, spirituality, etc., and that it’s through our authentic, committed, Christ-lead communities that we present a radical alternative to secular culture…
…And, as a personal perspective, I do think that our generation doesn’t quite grasp the overwhelming importance of prayer like our fore-generation did/does. I mean, our generation is more likely to say, “Let’s go serve somewhere and do something,” whereas I think our fore-generation might be more likely to say, “Let’s go pray.”
I think a reason for our generation not grasping the overwhelming importance of prayer is that we have not seen the overwhelming effects of prayer. I’m not saying that healings that I have seen have not been the result of God answering prayers, but I pose the question “Would God have chosen to not heal those people if prayer was not present?” On the other hand, our generation has seen the effects of serving and doing things to further The Kingdom. We’ve most likely come to know Christ through an event or someone doing something for us rather than someone saying they would pray for us through a tough time.
It can become a deep subject, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.
*National Day of Doing What We Should Already Be Doing Constantly