May I make my representations against the muffled “Amen”. It comes out something like a grunt or a snore with some whispering undertones.
What are we saying when we say Amen to a prayer? We are saying: “I agree with that. I want that to happen. I stand with what has just been brought be fore you, Lord.”
Which leads me to think that if you agree with the prayer and all the aforementioned stuff appertains, then say a good loud Amen. If you don’t agree then don’t say anything.
Let us remember that our prayer times are warfare times. When the muffled “Amen” emerges, we give the impression that we are attending a gentle tea party in Tunbridge Wells.
And what an encouragement it is when some good hearty “Amens” accompany your prayer. You feel we are actually doing business with God.
Consider the passage when David had led in prayer to instruct Asaph and his associates in 2 Chronicles 16:8-36a: Then all the people said ‘Amen’ and ‘Praise the Lord’ (2 Chron. 16:36b)
Oh let’s have some good strong “Amens”. You do not have to shout, but say your “Amens” when you agree.
It is sometimes good to have “Amens” in the middle of prayers as well when you are spiritually joining your heart with that of the one leading in prayer.
But, away with our evangelical muffles and say your “Amens”.
(This article was originally published at venabling on October 28th 2013)
I re-publish the article above in teh light of my visiting other churches of late. One of the phenomena I have observed is that of the muffled “Amens” at the end, after prayer to the Lord has been made. Perhaps it has struck me because I am encouraged by the fact thatt at Feltham Evangelical we generally have good hearty “Amens”.
What of prayer in preparing for preaching? I was struck recently at a seminar by Jonty Alcock of Globe Church, London mentioning about prayer being a continual thing in preparation.
It should not be that we prepare and then pray or pray and then prepare. Rather, praying should be a ongoing response to the engagement with God’s Word in preparation. As we study we pray:
- For our understanding of the Word.
- The suitable arranging of a message to declare to the people.
- The clarity of the presenting of the Word.
- The enabling of the Spirit in declaring the Word.
- People to be there to hear the Word.
- For individuals you know will be there
- For receiving of the Word and a responding to the Word.
- For this Word from the Lord to mould the people to effective godliness.
And as I pray the Word is being understood by myself and the message is being formed. Moreover I am being formed in the Word and with a heart for the people. So I am a messenger of the Word to bless His people.
(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of January 2004)
As the new year dawns it is a time, as a church, to look back and to look forward. Looking back we see what God has done and give Him thanks. Looking forward we commit ourselves to the LORD with a desire to see His Name honoured and glorified among us.
As we look back we can raise our Ebenezer and confess that “Thus far has the LORD helped us” (1 Sam 7:12). We can remind ourselves of all the LORD’S goodness to us. It is so easy to be despondent on account of the apathy that we see around us towards the things of our God. And yet we are reminded that it is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD. We should long for so much more in our church life, and yet:-
- The faithful preaching that we hear week by week.
- The love that there is among us.
- The good number of children who come to Lighthouse.
- The faithful service of different ones.
- The regular contact with a number (if only a small number) of outsiders.
- The preservation of the building.
Are just a few of the issues we can bring into our prayers and say “thank you LORD”.
However, we need to look ahead, but what should we be looking for in the year ahead? Above all, we suggest, that we must be looking for the LORD to find pleasure in us (remarkable as such a concept might be when we consider our essential sinfulness). We should long that His Name should be honoured in our midst. So we do not go ahead looking for new gimmicks to enliven our affairs, but for transformed lives which indicate that God is having dealings with us. But can we be more specific about our goals? Accordingly, let us put some specifics forward for you:-
- The Word of God to be preached faithfully, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- That we would be a praying church. Praying for His will to be done; crying to Him in all our needs.
- Growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18a) amongst those who are Christians, so that the Holy Spirit would not grieve over our lives.
- The celebration of the Lord’s Supper together becoming more and more special as we set our hearts on our Saviour in all of His worth and remember His achievements for us.
- Salvation to be found among those still not believing. Let us pray for clear conversions so that we truly know that lives have been brought from darkness to light.
- It would be so good to see baptisms among us as people openly confess their faith in the LORD Jesus.
- Growth in membership; both in terms of numbers and in terms of spirituality.
- Fellowship which is deepening as we share together spiritually and practically.
- Resolving of issues appertaining to the eldership/pastorate.
- The Lord supplying us with gifts to be used for His glory among us.
- A greater desire to study and live by God’s Word.
As we mention these things we have the overarching desire that the LORD would be “No 1in all things” in this church. To this end we are due to start the year with a week particularly giving ourselves to prayer (which should of course be mingled with our thanksgivings). One of the prayer meetings is in the morning for those who cannot make it in the evening. It would be good to come together and have fellowship in prayer concerning the Lord’s cause her on Manor Lane. Please come; you never now what benefit might come from you being there.
So as we look ahead we do not know what might transpire given we live in an uncertain world. But we do know all is well with our God and we can trust Him.
We conclude desiring that we would know the LORD’S goodness in the year ahead. And if there are things which concern you in the church then please do not hesitate to speak to us.
One of the wisest things we have done as a group of elders in the church here in Feltham appertains to prayer. At the beginning of our elders meetings we pray for approximately 45 minutes for everything in the life of the church.
It is such a beautiful thing to pray together as brothers who are like-minded and like-hearted on wanting the best welfare of the church. This is all very much in harmony with the joy described in this post about prayer with others
It gives a great atmosphere to our times together. Discussion, which takes place after the prayer-time, is always different when prayer has been made.
I do feel it shortens our meetings as well. This is just an intuitive response and hard to measure. However, my perception is that through prayer so many issues are processed in (and by) the Lord. This is far better than processing them through our discussing.
In my early days at Feltham I spent many happy times praying with just me and brother, Julio Alverio. Sadly, Julio now has his mental faculties significantly denuded and is in a care home. The happy memories still stand though.
It is interesting how praying with other believers can vary some much. To be able to pray with a small number of brothers, even just one, who are prepared to just to “go for it” and seek the Lord in praise, worship and supplication can be so very special. The sense of togetherness and freedom and lack of inhibition is so good.
Alas, this is not the case with everyone. Some seem to think that if you have verbally prayed once or twice then you have completed your roster. In such situations there is an awkwardness.
Writing this gives rise to memories of many happy times when prayer has been made to the Lord. Foretastes of heaven these are, might I say. And if you read this and are one of those brothers, then thanks to you for your fellowship and joyous unity in the gospel.
I was reading a review by Tim Challies (see here) of The book “Gay Girl, Good God” which is written by Jackie Hill Perry. She is a lady who was converted out of a lesbian lifestyle. In the review there is this quote from the book:
“[S]omeone had obviously been talking to God about me and it was the reason why God wouldn’t leave me alone. Obviously, whatever was being asked of Him, regarding me, was making my little sinful world spin. It was dizzying to live on now-a-days. Trying to stand up straight (or should I say, queer), made everything I loved, mainly myself and my girlfriend, blurry. Nothing was clear except God’s loud voice saying, ‘Come.’”
I was really struck by her observation about how someone was talking to God about her. This provokes me to be aware of the importance of supplicatory prayer. The Lord is the sovereign Lord who works all things according to the counsel of His own glorious will. Yet notwithstanding the validity of the glorious truth of the sovereignty of God the Lord has ordained that He works out His good purpose through our payers.
This leads me to ponder upon who am I talking to God about? And perhaps more fundamentally do I believe that the Lord really works through my prayers for people and about people?
In all this we need to be aware that the Lord moves through prayers that are in accordance with his will. When we pray for teh Lord to glorify His Name in the salvation and sanctification of people we can be sure that the Lord is happy with that prayer. Similarly when we pray for people to be convicted sin and led to faith in Christ we can know we are in the Lord’s will.
So I want us to be stirred to pray believing that the Lord moves thorough our prayers. So who am I regularly speaking to the Lord about? And what about you? Who is on your prayer list?
And then let us be anticipating the outcome of our prayers as we talk to God about people.
Here is our church newsletter for November 2018. It contains an article on the importance of the church praying together.