Do you sometimes wonder if God actually hears our prayers, or if he does, why the reluctance to answer? During the month of August, we have traditionally held a focus on mission. This year we will change that to focus on prayer instead. Here is the reason. Every single action that flows out from us as Christians, individually or as a congregation, has its source in Christ. Prayer is the water that flows along that path.
We can only be involved in acts of mission or ministry to the extent that God has blessed us with opportunity and provided resources as well as people to make it happen. Church is people – and people make the church. But is prayer just dependence on God’s provision? Not at all. We know that the advice given in scripture is that if God cares for the flowers of the fields and the birds in the air, then God will take care of things for you even more so, as you are the body of Christ. There is another passage that tells us that God even knows what we need before we ask, and is as generous with his provision ’to let it rain on the just and the unjust alike.’ So what is the point of prayer? 
I had a young man ask me that question one time. He was studying psychology at Uni at the time and wondered if prayer wasn’t anything more than just self-talk or self-assurance in the light of a crisis. Let’s face it, most people turn to some sort of prayer in their crisis, but then dismiss it as soon as they have a good outcome. With all of the above thoughts, we think of God as a vending machine – put your order in, press the button, product drops in your lap. I thank God for his blessings every day and at every meal. But it would be wrong to think that when God commanded us to pray, that it was this arrangement he had in mind.
Prayer is trust. Trust beyond our crisis and circumstance to a focus on a relationship with God who created us, sustains us, came into our world to redeem us, blessed us with his Holy Spirit, and desires to restore the original blue-print: ‘made in the image of God’. We were created to be in fellowship and relationship with God, depending on him to shine through us in our engagement with the life we enjoy and participate in with others around us. Prayer is not ‘religion,’ prayer is ‘relationship.’ That’s what we will explore this month.
Pastor Dirk Willner