Monday, August 26, 2013

Corporate: united or combined into one body

I was praying this morning, and started thinking about prayer.  I suddenly realized something about prayer that I have not articulated, at least recently:  Prayer is not "talking to God" as I have so often put it to myself and others.  Actually, it is conversing with Him.  Prayer is a conversation, not a speech.  That completely changes things, because a speech is all one-way communication, but a conversation is a flow between parties.  It is even different than speeches alternating back and forth.  There is a continuous give and take in a conversation, and a responsibility to both contribute and listen in order for the conversation to be maintained.  This is prayer.  This new perspective on prayer was revolutionary enough for me this morning as I sat there eating my oatmeal and trying to commune with God, but there is a little more.

If prayer is a conversation, then corporate prayer is simply a group conversation.  If we can converse with God individually, listening and speaking to each other.  We can also do so in a group.  When I hear the term "corporate prayer," I don't think of a conversation between friends.  Instead, the image in my mind is of one person leading by praying aloud, and everyone else agreeing with them in the Spirit.  I don't think this is wrong or bad, don't misunderstand.  A large group of people cannot effectively converse with one another.  But I don't think corporate prayer is limited to this.

What if, in everyday situations when we are gathered together doing ordinary and extraordinary things, we began conversing with God together.  I don't mean having good conversations about God with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  I mean including God in the conversation as a person.  Everyone listening and talking, giving and taking, both from the visible and invisible persons in the room.  I am certain that God is already ready, willing, and able to hold up His end of a conversation with us.  On our end, it may take a little practice.  It may feel uncomfortable, hokey, silly, but I believe the result would be incredible.  Not only would each pray-er grow closer to God, but they would also grow closer to one another through conversing together.  A body united within itself and united with its Father, King and Creator is a pleasing thing indeed.

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