This morning, while studying for Sunday's teaching on "Intimacy as Prayer", I was looking at the words used in the New Testament translated as 'prayer'. One of these is proseuche, which is what Paul was looking for in Acts 16 when he went outside the walls of Philippi, a place of prayer. I came across the definition that reads like this: a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer.
Where do you pray?
As we continue delving into the world of 24/7 prayer and consider the idea of working a dedicated space and time for prayer into the spiritual and liturgical rhythms of our community here, I see the concept as being a very Biblical one. One of the thoughts that challenged me at the Seville gathering was the idea that life is birthed out of intimacy. OK, said like that, you may be questioning my intelligence. Yes, I know how babies are made. I have three, thank you very much. Life is created and formed out of intimacy. How many revivals and causes and churches were birthed because of someone who walked closely with the Father? How many were born when a group of people committed to exceptional prayer?
The reminder given at the conference, more phrased as a warning, was that if we're not careful, we can get too excited and concerned for what is born out of intimacy with the Father and begin to lose sight of what caused it in the first place. Communities across Europe are seeing incredible ministries, dynamic mission teams and heroic acts of social justice come out of these prayer rooms. Pete was wise in admonishing the leaders of this movement to continually go back to what caused the creation in the first place.
How many couples experience this? A child is born, a beautiful, incredible, terrifying experience. Suddenly the new life consumes the parents' every waking moment. They find they don't spend time with each other anymore. There may be hints of intimacy, fleeting moments, snapshots of what was before, but it takes hard work to keep the balance right.
Proseuche. A place set apart for prayer. Could this help keep the balance right?