Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Max Lucado has recently written about prayer in a new release, Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer. Lucado, recently interviewed , defines the heart of prayer as the following: “A prayer is simply an honest conversation with God. A good prayer creates a sense of communion between the one who prays and the One who hears the prayer.”
In his honesty, transparency and humility, Lucado acknowledges that he, like all of us, does not always practice what he preaches regarding prayer. This does not change the truth regarding prayer or his commitment to prayer, but he is willing to provide a glimpse into his life through an honest assessment of his own prayer life.
Lucado also addresses the importance and privilege of prayer and praying publicly as a pastor. As pastors, we are often called upon to pray. This happens both individually and corporately, privately with one or two others and publicly, inside the church with the people of God and outside the church with others.
It is a wonderful privilege to be invited into these situations to communicate with the Lord on behalf of others. Some pastors would prefer not becoming the token pray-er at these public occasions and events. They would prefer not being asked.
I have never understood that response. For me, I have always considered it a privilege and responsibility: a privilege to be invited into the lives of people at some of the most important and meaningful times in their lives; a responsibility to speak faithfully to God, for God, in the midst of these people.
What about you? Are you bothered by invitations to pray or do you consider it a privilege? How do you approach this?