I recently joined a very well known, world-wide, interdenominational Bible study group that I absolutely love. I’d been on a waiting list to join the group for a short time so when I received the call that one of the discussion groups in my age bracket had an opening, I jumped at the opportunity.
The week before my first visit, I poured over the text and spent a great deal of time considering each and every study question before answering, so that by the time our meeting rolled around I was eager to participate. The group was so kind and welcoming and we had a very lively discussion that was followed by a time of sharing and prayer requests.
We spent about 15 minutes going over each individual woman’s prayer request and as we neared the end I found myself caught up wondering about the logistics of the impending prayer (will we hold hands? Will everyone pray or just one person? Will we go in a circle or in ‘popcorn’ fashion?) so much so that I was startled when suddenly I saw everyone gather their things and head down to the group lecture. I paused, embarrassed for a moment wondering, “Did I miss the prayer!?!”
I gathered my stuff and headed out to meet my friend in an adjacent group and as we walked down the stairs she began to ask me questions about the group and our discussion. I shared all the juicy details of our lively discussion and listened as she told about her group’s discussion and when she asked me what I thought I told her I loved the format but that I thought it kind of strange that my group ‘forgot’ to pray.
She laughed and said, “Yeah, there are two major rules here; you aren’t allowed to tell where you go to church or what denomination you are and you aren’t allowed to pray together because it might give indication as to what denomination you are.”
I couldn’t believe it; the omission was intentional! I have to confess it bothers me to the very core that a group of believers can gather together, discuss God’s word, share personal, intimate details about their lives, ask for prayer requests and then not pray! It is as bothersome to me as a sentence without a period, a song without a resolving note, or a book without the final chapter. The more I think about it the more it bothers me. Why? First because prayer shouldn’t be political! Second because I think we don’t pray enough as it is!
I am not trying to have a 'holier than thou' attitude because if the truth be told, when things get busy in my life, very often prayer is the first thing to go. As much as I can excuse it away, the truth is that you can’t have a relationship with someone you only read about; relationships are interactive. I am not sure where to go from here, in regards to my Bible study group, but I do know someone I need to talk about it with!
"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."