I want to tell you about exciting new project: we are creating a new prayer book
written by members of Redeemer's congregation. I’d like to invite you to volunteer
to write a prayer to be published.
Tentatively titled, Prayers of the People, this will be a collection of a month’s worth
of prayers from Redeemerites throughout the city - school teachers, investment
bankers, stay-at-home mothers, Broadway actors. I hope the resulting collection will
be a revelation about how people pray and a testimony to how the gospel is relevant
to every sphere of life. Ultimately, we hope it will show that anyone can develop a
rich ability to “talk with God" and give you new ideas and encouragement for how to
pray regularly and more personally for your profession and your city.
The idea for this book comes out of my own desire to have a better prayer life. This
past fall, I signed up to be on the prayer team for the West Side Kids Community
Group. What that meant was every Tuesday another West Side volunteer, Amanda
Lindemann would email out a prayer she had written that helped the team pray for
each of the kids and teachers by name in a theologically rich and worshipful way. I
was so encouraged by reading her prayers. I think they helped me deepen my own
style of praying.
That got me thinking. I bet there are other people like me who would like to learn
how to pray better. And I bet there are other people like Amanda who are
comfortable and experienced with prayer in a way that hear or reading their
prayers could be an encouragement to me and to others. So I thought we ought to
put something together.
The plan is to collect 60 prayers from Christians across New York City, primarily
from our congregation – one for the morning and one for the evening each day for a
month. Each prayer will be personal but deal with universal themes. If written by a
lawyer, it would deal with themes of law and justice in a way that only a lawyer
might think about, but also in a way that is accessible to any reader. Each prayer will
be introduced with a brief analysis explaining what principles that prayer
demonstrates, effectively giving the reader both a model prayer to use and a deeper
understanding of the elements of the prayer.
I’ve talked with friends about this idea and to my surprise, even non-Christians are
excited about it. As Tim points out in his book Prayer, interest in prayer is nearly
universal. Even 30% of atheists say they pray “sometimes.” But how should we
pray? And how do our prayers point us effectively to Jesus. We need models of
prayer that teach us not just by telling us how but by showing us the way. By virtue
of being written not by one person but by one community, Prayers of the People will
do something no other prayer book has done: reveal the landscape of prayer across
our entire city.
Visit www.prayersofthepeople.net for more info and to volunteer. We will be taking
submissions through March 22nd. Not all submissions will be selected and all
volunteers should expect editing for length, tone, and content as appropriate. Please
consider writing a prayer and sharing it through this innovative project.