Throughout Lent, I have been reminded of the importance and centrality of prayer in our walk with Christ. Prayer connects us to God through Jesus Christ and changes us as we find intimacy and peace with God through prayer. Prayer does change us. And not just us, individually, but us together. So, while we often talk about how prayer is important in our individual lives, it’s also central to our identity as a community of faith. Prayer draws us together, breaks down barriers between us, and helps us live at peace with one another. I love how Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it in “Life Together:”
A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother from whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others. There is no dislike, no personal tension, no estrangement that cannot be overcome by intercession as far as our side of it is concerned. Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and fellowship must enter every day. The struggle we undergo with our brother in intercession may be a hard one, but that struggle has the promise that it will gain its goal. (Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 87)
Friends, let’s become a church that prays for each other. Let’s become a church that allows the Spirit of God to so purify and renew us through prayer that we see our friends, neighbors, and the world around us as beloved children of God.
I’m praying for you and with you this Lent. May the God of all grace draw us together in Christ.
For Jesus. For People. For Community.
This is so true. I have ended up really liking people whom I originally disliked after I started praying for tem every day. It’s amazing! I pray to see them as God does. I pray that He will help me see the person as He does.
Prayer is renewal and helps me connect better with God, which in turn, helps me connect better with His people!
Great explanation by Bonhoffer!