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Yesterday we concluded our group study of Paul Miller's "A Praying Life".  We've been meeting online for the last 6 sessions, and we did lose quite a few people along the way.  We've been following the outline of the book loosely and bringing in other materials and topics for the class.

We ended our study by looking at community prayer, that is, praying effectively in a group setting.  This was one of the items identified at the beginning as an item that the group wanted to discuss, and we had it in our "parking lot". 

We recognized that community prayer is more complex than private prayer because it adds a horizontal dimension.  Community prayer is all about praying to God, with people.  It can be tough to maintain that balance - so many groups I've prayed with have suffered from people praying more for others in the group to hear than for God to hear.  Not so much from pride like the Pharisee, but just from a lack of understanding of the dynamics of group prayer.  Prayers end up horizontally-focused, long and winding and full of information that God didn't need - not to mention focused on surface issues rather than the deeper works God wants to do.

We discussed the "ABCs" - Agreement, Brevity, and Christ-centeredness, and how these support each other in an effective group prayer setting.  

The whole series was well-received, despite the interruption from the coronavirus.  I'm sure we'll do this again, possibly with some additional tweaks.  We had to cancel our planned prayer service at the end of March due to the lockdown, but hopefully we'll be able to proceed on schedule at the end of June.  And we continue to pray about where God is leading us next to develop a culture of prayer.

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Comment by Chuck Huckaby on May 20, 2020 at 5:39pm

I saw Paul Miller personally long ago before the book and wondered how he juggled all those crushing responsibilities and what I considered burdens. When he wrote the book and I read it, my immediate reaction was I BELIEVE HIM... He couldn't have made it through all that without being a praying man. Since then one of his children has died and I don't think he could have endured that without being a man of prayer. I don't know about other authors of books on prayer but with Paul I say "I believe him!"

Comment by Malva Birch on May 7, 2020 at 3:23pm

Wonderful points to focus on:   ' "ABCs" - Agreement, Brevity, and Christ-centeredness.' 

Thank you, Andrew.

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