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We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

Pastor Paul's Blog

Prayer as a Means of Grace

“But what good works are those, the practice of which you affirm to be necessary to sanctification?  First, all works of piety; such as public prayer, family prayer, and praying in our closet; receiving the supper of the Lord; searching the Scriptures, by hearing, reading, meditating; and using such a measure of fasting or abstinence as our bodily health allows.” --John Wesley, Sermon 43, The Scripture Way of Salvation, Vol. 6, pg. 51

John Wesley was a man of prayer.  We know this from Wesley’s journals, as he methodically recorded his daily activities.  Prayer was for Wesley a vital connection with God.  He stated that prayer was first in his list of the “means of grace”, ordinary ways by which God communicated his loving presence.  Mr. Wesley often implored his listeners to model the prayer life of Jesus, withdrawing to lonely places to pray, stepping away from the busyness of life to commune with God.

I’m certain that prayer is vital, yet confess that I’m not always sure how to pray.  As a child, my prayer life consisted of praying for those that I loved: my Mom, Dad, brother, grandparents, cousins, Aunts and Uncles, family friends, and our dog.  I am sure that God heard those prayers and received them as a child-like act of faith.  As I have grown older, and supposedly more informed and wise, I wonder if that qualifies as a sufficient prayer life?  Simply reciting a laundry list of requests probably isn’t the sustaining prayer life Wesley had in mind.

Instead, prayer for me now has evolved.  Instead of making lists, I’m paring down.  I am sure that God loves those that I love more than me.  I am confident that I don’t have to bring those to God’s attention in fear that he won’t remember them.  Instead, spending time in prayer to probe the mysterious presence of God and what God might be saying to me is becoming the focus of my prayer. 

God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand you have failed. —St. Augustine

Gathering glimpses of the divine might be prayer in its purest form.

Prayer is not formula or pattern, but relationship. 

A number of years ago, at Annual Conference, Barbara Brokhoff told the story of how her Mother prayed and what an impact it had on her.  There was a wayward son who was imprisoned, and a Mother whose heart was broken.  Every day Barbara came home, her Mother was found praying at the kitchen table, obviously deeply saddened and broken over her son.  This went on for months, maybe years.

Then one day, Barbara said, she came home and her Mother was up and moving around, and it was obvious that something had changed.  Barbara asked her Mom what had changed, had something happened?  “No, child, nothing’s changed, I’ve just prayed through on it.”  Through prayer, she had found in the mystery of God the strength to let go of the burden and to trust in the divine Spirit that loved the child even more than she did.  Prayer had given her a new outlook and released a deep pain she no longer needed to carry.

As we travel this journey of faith together, can we learn some new patterns and ways of praying together?  During this season of Lent, a time of preparation for a new reality called Easter, may the mystery of God’s grace provide the means for a new life of prayer in us all. 

Resources Used:

Job, Reuben P.  A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader.  (Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN) 1998.

Mathison, John Ed.  Treasures of the Transformed Life.  (Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN) 2006.