Prayer. As Christians it's something we know we should be doing. Jesus commands it. Paul exhorts the believers in Rome to ‘be constant’ in it (Romans 12:12). And yet, for so many of us, prayer is a struggle.
How then can we encourage one another, as church family, to be persevering and wrestling in prayer?
In my experience, a great way of spurring one another on in this area of the Christian life is to be meeting together in small groups with the stated intention of praying together.
I joined an RML group shortly after moving to London. Many of the other members of my group were in a similar position to me: starting out in new jobs and battling with the challenge of seeking to live for Jesus in a City that does not acknowledge him.
With RML nights so often feeling squeezed for time, I agreed with a couple of the other guys in the group (who worked in the same corner of the City as me) to begin meeting up on Wednesday mornings before work to pray together.
Our 'prayer triplet' met each week at quarter past eight in a quiet corner of Costa in Moorgate. Invariably, from time to time, one of us would be late, would have a breakfast meeting or would simply arrive still half asleep. But the time and location became a standing fixture in our diaries.
Each week we would take it in turns to share a thought from the Bible, so as to be sure of rooting our time in God's Word. We would then share how our weeks were going, areas of the Christian life where we were struggling and other needs that we wanted brought before our Father. And then we would pray.
Over time our little triplet grew, becoming a square and then a pentagon before even becoming a prayer hexagon for a time. But the format and purpose always remained the same: as a place for brothers to encourage one another and to spur one another on in praying to our Father.
After meeting for five years or so, the members of the group began to get new jobs in different parts of the City and that little group has now disbanded. However I recently found the notebook in which, each week, we recorded one another’s prayer requests. To read through that book was to be reminded of the faithfulness of our great God. And it made me think that perhaps it's time for a new prayer triplet.
Starting a prayer triplet is so straightforward. Identify a couple of Christians who you know and trust and who are of the same sex. They might be other members of your RML group or people who live or work in the same part of London as you or just friends from the church family. Ask them if they would like to meet up occasionally (it doesn’t have to be every week) with the intention of praying together. Agree a regular time and location and lock it into your diary. And then get on with praying.
I pray that as a church we find real encouragement and joy in praying more and more with one another.