Reactions to the Prayer Room

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Part 2 of our interview with Graham Singh about Lakeside Downtown’s first prayer room experience…

How were the reactions of people to the prayer room?

People loved to do it.

I’m not sure at Lakeside how good our spiritual vocabulary is. I think in the Anglican Church that I come from the idea of self reflection is something talked about a lot more. So the idea of being uncomfortable praying because in fact you’re uncomfortable being alone with yourself and God, I think that’s something that people might struggle to put into words. My impression is that probably was going on from little snippets that I heard from people.

Of course, there are people who just loved it, you know, can’t wait to do it again.

I can’t think of any negative reaction, actually there were two negative reactions. One, that I heard from a few people was that they wished we could just pray from home. Like we had done at Lakeside another time and I really had to make a case for why it’s so important to be there physically. And what we’ve agreed to do this next time is that where there is already a slot filled physically we will allow somebody to  also fill a slot virtually. And they can put on there virtual in brackets and say I’m joining virtually. We want to make sure that’s there for those who physically cannot get in. We do have quite a few people in that boat.

The other side of the thing was a perceived issue of safety. I think we did really well with safety and having people know who was coming in and out.

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What value do you see in a dedicated prayer spaces whether it’s a weekend or a week?

I would say that people are very natural disciples and what I mean by that is that they watch what other people do and they model it. And so if we’re all watching Christ and trying to model Him and we invite others to follow us as we follow Christ; which to me is the call of a Christian leader,  then what we model is what people will follow not just what we say and talk about. So on Sundays, one of my critiques of the way Sundays are is that we spend a lot of time in worship where we’re not necessarily worshipping. We’re sometimes listening to a bit of a show and times where we’re engaged in teaching from one person. And we might talk about prayer. In fact we often talk about prayer in that context but to actually model it and to actually be there and be seen to do it I think is a very very important thing. So, to me the education of our Christian community is a key reason. The other reason as I mentioned before is for me personally I find my own prayer life is greatly encouraged and I know that together with the whole of my church we’re really praying that week. So when I see somebody the first conversation we’ll have is about “how was it for you in the prayer room?” And it becomes the subject, it really takes over the number one spot in church life.

The third is that I think somehow you could say, “does God hear us more when we all pray together at the same time?”

And the answer in one part has to be  “we don’t know” or “no”. I think of the prayer of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. Right there in her own faith she was healed. And other times when actually everybody did get together to pray and God didn’t respond. You have to deal with that in prayer. That’s a general issue with prayer.

However, my experience is that there is something about being together in unity and praying that maybe it changes us more. But I think there’s something very special about not just saying, “Yes, we’ll pray and yes we’ll pray in our small groups when they meet” because often prayer is the thing that the enemy doesn’t want us to do and our human nature lets it slide away. And my human nature is no exception at the end of a long day I don’t really want to sit and pray for a long time.  But everything in my life is better when I do.

So you know, the act of learning and discipline together, celebrating the discipline I think is a beautiful thing. 

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The 24-7 prayer movement crosses all streams of the Christian faith. It’s not limited to a particular denomination or style of church. How important is it to connect the various streams of the body of Christ?

I think it’s hugely important. I think that we’re commanded in so many ways in scripture to do it, to make acts of unity. And I’ve experienced in my life the great fruit of that I’ve seen certainly at HTB[Holy Trinity Brompton] and in my own life personally. Just personally I think it’s something I love. I really love to see everybody coming together in prayer.

 


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