Really now, How Much Do We Pray?

I’m full of questions today. Plus, within the last hour I stumbled through an important conversation with a young man who is close to me, and during the course of our talk the issue of prayer arose. We talked deeply about the subject–not at great length–but I believe I can honestly say we talked deeply, for both of us came to grips with a stirring consideration–one that I now bring to you, and hope you will discuss with me. Do we pray about things as we should…and as others might think we do?

I really want to hear from you, and want you to bare your souls. If you’re uncomfortable revealing who you are, post anonymously, or take a screen name. I’m not at all interested in exposing or belittling anyone or any group, but I am interested in knowing how much, and for what we pray. I’m not polling any certain denomination…but would like to hear from each of you. In particular, please consider these:

1. How often does the leader in your home call the entire family to prayer about a particular need? I’m speaking of kneeling or standing or sitting, and praying together for something–a healing, a financial need, problems in school or at work etc.

2. Wives, how often does your husband ask you to pray with him about a certain need? How often do you kneel, stand, or sit together and pray–the two of you alone?

3. How often does your pastor call the church body together for prayer for a particular need?

4. How often do you ministers–pastors and otherwise–get together as a group for concerted and particular praying?

5. In your denomination if a troublesome issue arises, do you ministers pray together about it? How much…how often? Do you ask your church body to pray about the problem? Have you found answers in this way?

I’d be the first to admit that I do not at all pray enough, and it is hard for me to figure out exactly why, for to be in the presence of God–which is what happens when we earnestly pray–is profoundly moving and exceedingly powerful. I began to think at length about this earlier this week, when at our Tuesday night Bible study where only four people were present, we entered into a significant session of prayer. We spoke our needs aloud. We prayed. We wept together. We sensed that we truly were in the presence of God. Why should I ever neglect to avail myself of such opportunity?

Again, if you need to log out and post anonymously, please do so and help me out here. I need to hear from you. I hoping every person who reads this will respond, and I thank you for such a consideration and for the use of your time and of your heart and soul.
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My other blog is here.

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About Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 78 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She has been married to Jerry for 60 years. They have 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)
This entry was posted in Christian Service, Christianity, Church, Church Trouble, Devotionals, God, Prayer, Preaching/Preachers, religion, supernatural and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Really now, How Much Do We Pray?

  1. woundedlily says:

    My husband and I don’t pray as often as we should together, but we always pray when we are driving on a trip, at our meals, when we are asked to pray for someone. Mostly, I talk to God all through the day as I would a close friend. Because I sometimes fall asleep praying, I always start out with “In Jesus name I pray….”

    When I led the Women’s ministry at church we prayed for each individual prayer request and our prayer time often started with a song.

    Should we pray more? Certainly! Do we pray often enough – I doubt it. I think our human nature first kicks in and we try to solve or come up with a solution.

    I like to scripture pray and keep them on 3 x 5 index cards.

  2. colbylobrien says:

    I certainly don’t pray nearly as much as I should. My husband is good about leading our children in prayer–but it is not about specific needs really. More along the lines of “bless this, bless that, help us have a good day, etc.” I’m sad to say that I really can’t remember the last time that just my husband and I prayed together about anything. I guess it’s time that we earnestly change our ways.

    colbylobrien.wordpress.com

  3. Daniel says:

    Prayer its everything we need to do. I remember when I got baptized my Pastor who did not speak very good english was adamant about teaching me how to pray. I never forget what he said to me when I asked how can I be sure to continue in this walk until the day I die? He said very clearly in English “If your not Praying your not staying and if your not Fasting your not lasting” when I am struggling in my walk those words always come back to me.

    As far as the question goes I suppose most of us have times when pray not as we ought but I believe in prayer as enter deeper and deeper into the anointing the Spirit begans to move and intercede and it is a that point that we truly began to pray according to the heart of our Father. I believe pray in the Spirit and you will ask in the Spirit. God Bless

    Daniel

  4. Odale says:

    That’s so true woundedlily! Always have a “Plan B”…

    I am essentially alone, to address the first part of the question you so kindly allowed us to answer, Miss Shirley. It’s a precarious situation (that’s why I came back and asked for your prayers a few weeks ago), to say the least, and it hinders much of my life, BUT NOT MY SPIRIT!! The past several years have brought me closer to God and I am sincere when I say I pray constantly. My fault lies mostly in allowing “world situations” to grieve me too much…I can hear my dad telling me not to expect others to understand…

    My church is small (but we did have nine, including a visitor Tues night;-) and we pray about each and every thing. We will be together tomorrow (Fri.) getting ready for a bazaar on Sat. and we will pray for God’s blessings. As one of our speakers says, “We may be the only Jesus others see.” We talked some Tues night about praying for each other and being honest with each other (sometimes a toughy). I am very fortunate to have two pastors and other members whom I can call on any time and vice versa.
    I hope this helps, Miss Shirley! God Bless You All.

  5. Shirley says:

    WOUNDEDLILY, thank you for response to this post and for your honesty. I think it is beautiful that you often fall asleep praying.

    COLBYLOBRIEN, my children are now grown. I have 12 grandchildren and 8 grandchildren. As I look back, one of my parenting regrets is that I didn’t pray more earnestly with my children. I prayed with them at church, and at home, but too often it was over meals, or it was of the bless this, bless that variety. God is good to us, though. Despite my imperfect ways, all my children are God-fearing, successful adults. Two of my sons are ministers.

    Thank you both for your time and response here.

  6. tommyjoe says:

    A teacher of mine in Bible College (Sis. Norris; do you knowknow of her?) wrote a book called “Shut Thy Door.” It’s a short book, but I seem to recall one thing that was impressed on my mind: “The secret to praying is praying in secret.” Our Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Seems like you’ve been rewarded! I tend to think our prayers should be daily. Sometimes they are quick prayers. Other times they are more lengthy and filled w/travail. Sometimes we’re tired. Sometimes we’re energetic. I’m guessing it’s all a part of “praying without ceasing.”

  7. SMP007 says:

    Hi Shirley,

    To answer your first question (title)… Personally, not enough! But looking at your other questions, here goes…

    1. I would be that “somebody” as the dad/husband… about 3 to 4 times a week.

    2. To answer for my wife… again about 3 to 4 times /week

    3. I am also the pastor, so I’ll answer… Weekly.

    4. We pray together on these types of things at our regular leadership meetings.

    5. Same as #4

    Regular prayer together as a congregation is something I’m really trying to incorporate and define as “normal” for a church body. There will be an adjustment period but I think it will become par tof our “liturgy.”

  8. Shirley says:

    DANIEL, it sounds as though the pastor you had when you first came into the church instilled some tremendous values in you. Of course you’re right, that often we don’t pray enough, but what a wonderful blessing it is when we are so close to Him that His Spirit intercedes through us.

    ODALE, although there are disadvantages to a very small church, I believe also there are advantages, and you had tapped into one of them. When there are fewer of us, it may be easier to be close and open in prayer…to be honest and specific concerning our needs.

    TOMMYJOE, yes I know of Sister Norris and have also heard of the book, although I don’t think I have read it. Absolutely, there is a time for us to pray alone. There are situations that we absolutely are unable to share with anyone….except, sweet Jesus, of course.

    Thanks to all of you for your comments.

  9. Shirley says:

    Hello, SMP007

    Thank you for your response to my questions…Yours is an encouraging post and I’m delighted to understand that you routinely pray with your wife and with your children. I honestly don’t believe a father can give his family a greater gift.

    I consider your church blessed in that you desire corporate prayer to become routine for them, and that you already are prayerful in your leadership meetings.

    Blessings always.

    PS Is that a gun you’re toting? Does that help get the prayer going? 🙂

  10. reallyposh says:

    Hi Shirley. Thanks for dropping in at my blog. And these are some really interesting questions you have posted here. I do pray often. Like all Muslims are expected to, we (praise be to the Lord) pray five times everyday. That is, the ritualistic ‘salaat’ followed by more personal supplications. For the men, it is extremely recommended that they pray in a mosque or in a congregation for each of the five prayers. And yes, we are asked to ask Allah for our needs all the time, so much that Du’a or the supplication is also considered a form of worship, even if it is a very individualistic need.
    Allah says in the Quran (Chapter 2: 186):
    “And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright.”
    🙂

  11. Kjirstin says:

    As a single person, I don’t usually have formal times to pray, and praying “when I remember” means I’m praying far less often than I should… I have, however, learned to use the Orthodox Church’s “Jesus Prayer”, which is supposed to be a way to pray without ceasing. It goes like this (on the breath in) “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,” (on the breath out) “have mercy on me, a sinner.” The idea is for it to become part of one’s breathing, so that one can be meditating on God and things of God even as one is going through the ordinary motions of life. It’s helped me immeasurably whenever I am tired, anxious, emotionally overwrought, or feeling like I can’t make it through something.

  12. I pray “without ceasing,” both alone and with my various family members. But I’m kind of sick of people thinking “prayer” is the magic exliar of calling God to do what we want him to.
    Prayer is communication, right? Not the “formula” that informs God of our needs/desires, etc. When I “talk” to a friend, I’m not like, “Oh, I need to talk to you more so that things work out for me” or anything like that.
    Prayer isn’t the “magic bullet” or even a spiritual requirement. It’s a necessity to keep a relationship alive, right? But we shouldn’t treat it like, “Oh, I’d be more spiritual or ‘close to God’ or whatever if I prayed more.
    That attitude is a little self-centered and immature, in my opinion.
    P.S. Kjirstin … the Hebrew letters of Yahweh — “Yod” “Vah” “Hah” “Vah” (sp?) is the act of breathing… when we speak God’s name, we are breathing in and out his very presense. So, it’s exciting for me to “discover” the beautiful tradition of your church!

  13. helenl says:

    I like questions, Shirley. Life is filled with them. My book of poems that I’m presently shopping was an attempt to make sense of the “pray without ceasing.” How can we do that? Can we pray, when we sleep? When we are taking a history test? How can we make all of our thought life prayer? And do we really want to do that? No one calls me to prayer. I pray as much as I can. I don’t pray nearly enough.

  14. Shirley says:

    REALLYPOSH, KJIRSTIN, AND LOSTGIRLFOUND, welcome to my blog.

    Thank you for taking the time and energy to come here and respond.

    Though we may have different cultures and ways of thinking, it sounds as though all of us agree that praying is important. Lostgirlfound, I certainly believe you’re right when you point out that praying should go beyond merely asking God for things, but should imply the development of a relationship.

    The connection of breathing and the Hebrew letters of Yahweh is a beautiful thought. Thank you for that information.

    Blessings always

  15. eyesandwings says:

    i feel you man. i’m over my life of unprayerfulness. i have realized that i have poured out my heart into an event or outreach or something…but right before i begin i say “let’s pray…cause without prayer nothing will happen”…but if that’s true then why don’t i dedicate my life to seeking God in the place of prayer? especially when God’s promise is “you have what you ask for”. why would i not bank my life on that promise?

    thank God for His faithful patience as He builds in my a life of prayer.

  16. Shirley says:

    Welcome to my blog, Matthew.

    We constantly struggle, do we not, as we make our way to Heaven…at least I do.

    You are right to remind us that God is faithful. He is patient, full of grace and mercy, and it’s a good thing. Otherwise, none of us would be saved.

    Hope you come here often.

  17. Paulyn says:

    My fiance and I pray together occassionally. Most especially when there is a particular need I am able to convince him that only God can decide if we do deserve what we ask for. I pray a lot, on my own. In almost every little thing I do I feel like I’m in a conversation with Him. I know and believe that He is always around us every minute of our lives.

  18. heartwhispers says:

    A “right to the heart” subject! Our district has for a couple years now had “Tennessee Revival Fires” prayer meetings. We have sectional leaders also and have incorporated these meetings into our yearly sectional calendar. They are wonderful, “corporate prayer” is powerful. We are having a district 16-Hour prayer meeting this Friday 8p to Sat noon and ending with communion. All said… the personal prayer time of just talking to God without a need is awesome. I’ve found I may start with a NEED, but end up with the need becoming smaller, less important, and my conversation with God ALL important. Prayer is the most intimate part of our relationship with our bridegroom. I want to KNOW Him in all His fullness. Do I pray as often as I should? No… I’m sure I don’t.

  19. bereans says:

    Hi Shirley,

    I’ll be back to comment in more detail, but just a quick point. Over the years prayer has been turned from something practical to something mystical. Christians and non-Christians alike look at it like casting some kind of magic spell that evokes some higher power to do our bidding. Prayer is nothing more than conversation with God, and completely contingent upon the maturity of our relationship with him. If we are close to him, we’ll talk often–if not, we won’t engage no matter what.

    Just like a good marriage needs good communication so does our relationship with God.

    Will be back to comment more on the subject of your post shortly.

    God bless you, Shirley!

    Paul

  20. helenl says:

    Hi again Shirley,

    I saw your post on Bereans and am back. I disagree with what Paul has said concerning mysticism. When we see prayer as only a “conversation with God,” we are apt to forget that God is God. Practical prayer is like completing a checklist. Pray for Bob, pray for Sallie, …

    No, prayer is that place where we can unite with God, where we can enter into His will, His thinking. The mystics’ goal was to become one with God. Sounds a bit like “less of me, more of Him.” Prayer without ceasing is not “practical.” Try cooking dinner with your eyes shut, head bowed.

    No, prayer is becoming so aware of God’s presence that the Spirit prays in you without words. Prayer of this kind (which none of us have yet achieved) involves a total submission to God’s will. It means every thought has become prayer, that prayer is no longer a conscious act but rather a way of life. And if that’s not mystical, what is?

    Prayer without ceasing means a husband’s or a pastor’s call to pray is too little too late and often just a bit of ego-stroking for the men, who aren’t necessarily any closer to God than women are.

    Helen

  21. Larry says:

    Brilliant topic Shirley. I don’t believe any of us prays as we ought.

    Myself? I have good weeks and bad. Focus on God is good, life is wonderful, and I pray to never lose the feeling of closeness.

    Next day or so? Days aren’t so good, and even when I know to pray I don’t.

    I know all the verses, and it still doesn’t make a difference. It is a discipline I am getting better at.

    Frustrating.

    Larry

  22. Shirley says:

    HELEN and LARRY, we cannot give up on ourselves. We must keep striving for perfection…which of course can only be found in Jesus, through His profound grace and mercy.

  23. Shirley says:

    PAULYN, a greater start in life together cannot be found than for you and your fiance to pray together. I wish you well with your future life.

    HEARTWHISPERS, your post is so encouraging to me. There is something powerful that happens when church leaders get together for prayer…the binding…the unity. And then having such a meeting and ending it in communion…awesome. I find it rare. Thank you for sharing this.

  24. Paulyn says:

    hi shirley, thanks for visiting my site! I’m so sorry I lost the comment you posted, something happened during our transfer to virtual server. Hope you drop by again when you get the chance!

  25. Shirley says:

    Good morning, Paulyn. I’ve been to your site this morning and joined the birthday party. Love the recording of the birthday song.

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  27. anonymous says:

    i am a muslim who prays five times every day ever since i was about 4 years old. we engage in a ritual prayer known as salat and in it we ask Allah which means god in english for guidance, aide, protection and to be guided to a straight path. as a muslim, alot may not know this but we too believe in the bible. there are also many fabrications against islam such as suicide bombings which the quran itself refutes. saying that all life is sacred and even more directly stating do not kill yourself. one who does such is not a believer in god. if you put aside everything the media will tell you… everyone i kno that has ever converted even pastors and ministers and preachers, even some who i have known on personal levels will tell you that what they heard compared to what was true and in the quran conflict each other. i grew up praying to god, creator of the heavens and the creator of myself. im even gonna stop writing this because i feel the need to pray for many more things thanks to you post. and i will leave you with something i was told a long time ago. god is in no need of us but we need him and every single one of us has needs and no one fulfills them but the lord himself. in the quran he says ask of me so that i may give you more. and in another part “if my servant asks about me, tell him i am near, and i answer the call of every suppliant when he calls to me”

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