Let's be honest about our prayer times at the end of RML. Sometimes they're really great, and sometime, well, sometimes they make our heart sink. Because we all find prayer hard, all the time.
There are good reasons why praying at the end of RML's hard. It's the end of a long day, we're often tired. Maybe we've just battled with difficult truths- it's hard to pray about ideas we don't fully understand. As we realise application is often about changing how we think, there's often not many action points to pray through.
So let's think about our prayer times at the end of RML. Just to be clear, this isn't a blog about collecting prayer points and praying for each other's needs- although that's a great thing to do. This is a blog about talking to God, as RML groups, in light of what we've just seen in God's word.
Here are three themes repeated throughout the storyline of the Bible, which help us think about this type of prayer.
1. We can know the God we're speaking to.
Our God makes himself known, to a people, with whom He wants to have relationship (Exodus 6: 2-9). The Bible's all about God securing that relationship with his people (Isaiah 54:4-8), through Jesus we now relate to him as Father (Luke 11:2). Prayer is not talking into thin air, it is talking our Father. I don't chat to my Dad, worried about my grammar and clarity. Similarly our heavenly Father doesn't mind if our prayers are muddled, our grammar's wrong and our manner ‘stuttery'!
This week as you pray at RML Mark, Romans or Overview—remember you're speaking to your Father.
2. God expects us to pray for spiritual understanding of Bible truths.
In Ephesians 1:17-19, Paul prays that the church would know spiritually, things they can't see physically. He prays they would ‘really get' God's future focused plan and his power to achieve it. We can pray for this understanding too. When the theology of Romans is tough, or the content of Overview feels too massive, remember God expects we'll need to pray for help to understand what He's saying.
This week at the end of RML why not ask him to help your group really ‘get' the truths you've just seen?
3. Throughout the Bible many types of responsive prayers are modelled!
Responsive prayer is talking to God about what we've heard him say in his word. Throughout the Bible we see different types of responsive prayers: prayers of confession (e.g. Nehemiah 9:1-38), thanksgiving (e.g. 2 Samuel 7:18-29), and my favourite - prayers of downright honesty (e.g. Psalm 130:1-8)! What might it look like to talk to God like this at RML? At Mark we could thank God for what he's taught us about Jesus. At Romans we might confess where we've believed something different about the gospel. At Overview we could talk honestly about how we feel about God's revelation of himself.
So as we come God's word every day, and at RML in particular; let's not just work hard at hearing what God is saying in his word, let's work hard at talking to him about it.