At Catalina North, we believe in prayer. We believe that prayer changes the lives of the prayers as well as those who are prayed for. And so our church has started a prayer group. All are welcome to come as often or as infrequently or even just once... as they wish. You can simply sit with us and pray silently or you can speak your prayer, again as you wish. We do have a few “regulars”—a team of individuals who will pray for you or your situation if you prefer to simply request prayer. However, these folks don't have magical powers or a special pipeline to Divinity. They simply pray. Every Sunday, in a circle, at the
front of the sanctuary.
So what about the act of praying. Why do it? A rhetorical question, for sure, as we all kind of know the answer. We are told to do so by God, over 130 times in Scripture.
And when the prayer isn’t answered in the way or time we want? What about that? The C.S. Lewis website as some thoughts on this. They offer no resolution but do echo some observations. “For example, Abraham’s plea for Sodom and Gomorrah to be spared from the fires of heaven. His prayer seems to indicate an openness on God’s part to receive an anguished-laden petition as he counts down how many righteous men Abraham need to find to spare the cities. But in the end, Sodom and Gomorrah are struck down, with Lot and his family escaping (save the pillar of salt). There are other examples: Jacob wrestling the angel and ending up with a dislocated hip for life; Moses asking God for help to manage Israel’s complaining, and Jesus himself in the Garden asking for the cup of suffering to be removed.”
Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be a comfortable, make-me-feel-good, definitive answer that clearly explains just exactly WHY prayers not answered the way we want at times. However, I’m not sure that’s what we really want anyway. As Ted (our pastor) reminds us with regularity, “It’s the plot. We are in a lifelong plot. And it’s our job to be with the plot, behave like a Child of
God, and trust He has the entire story written”. Exciting, scary, uncomfortable, unpredictable.
Published on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 @ 7:28 PM CDT
In the past, when I joined a prayer group at my church it was because I was looking for answers to a problem or feeling desperate for help.
In the past, when I joined a prayer group at my church it was because I was looking for answers to a problem or feeling desperate for help. In my inexperience on how to pray, I would talk to God and then wait for results. These many years later my conversation with God hasn’t changed much, but life experiences have grown and my prayer list has gotten longer. I pray for family, friends and a variety of things that are on my heart. Prayer is not only for difficult times but can also be for joyous times too.
Catalina Church North has recently started a prayer group where sisters and brothers in Christ gather to lift prayer requests from fellow believers. It is a time to bring the situations and concerns that people have to the circle and give it all to God. These Sunday mornings with God has become a special time where we sit with Him alone and grow closer in our relationship together and with Him.
The Bible has many stories of people praying to God to perform a miracle or intervene in difficult times. The story of Lazarus is one extreme example of people praying with heavy hearts to God for help. As his sisters, Mary and Martha, prayed for Jesus to come and cure their brother, Lazarus would die anyway. When Jesus didn’t come for several days they felt extremely sad and disappointed. Jesus knew that he was to wait and come after Lazarus died because he would perform a miracle and many would come to believe and follow him after that. In Luke 11, as Jesus was praying he is asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray; it is here that Jesus first recites “The Lord’s Prayer”. Such a perfect prayer that everyone knows. When Jesus was on earth, he sought moments of solitude to pray to his father. He asked for help, answers and would always praise His name most high.
When I moved to Tucson from Indiana after my marriage dissolution, I sought a church home within the first few months. I was left alone to make decisions for myself and a church family was a huge part of my healing. I landed at Catalina Church North because it was different and made me feel very welcome. This prayer group has become an important part of my continued healing and has affected my daily life in positive ways, be it with family relationships, a job or my responsibilities. It is the commitment of this small group to continue to pray for those needing prayer and in turn building a community of love and faithfulness to His word.
Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Published on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 @ 9:15 AM CDT