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Voici pourquoi John Onwuchekwa a écrit le livre « La prière »

This is why John Onwuchekwa wrote the book "Prayer"

If you walk into most churches next Sunday, what will you find?

You will hear minimalist or loud music, and old or recent songs. However, the basic structure will be almost identical, wherever you are.

There will be a sermon. It may be thematic, short and light, or textual, long and deep. Depending on the Sunday, you may attend a baptism, participate in Holy Communion, or take part in a group reading of the scriptures.

But do you know what you are most likely not to see or what you are unlikely to take part in? Prayer.

I'm not saying no one will talk to God. But the prayers will likely be short and few, a few hasty words spoken as the musicians and speakers move up or down the platform. They will surely be biblical, but vague, centered on the great promises of God intended for an undefined group of people. They will undoubtedly be instructive, but with a local aim, rarely going beyond the immediate needs of the listeners. They will likely be emotionally intense, springing from the hearts of people who truly have a sincere desire to communicate with their God.

The concern is that these prayers will not dwell on the splendors of God, on his attributes and on his person. They will not meditate long on his Word. They will not ask those who are listening to search their hearts and confess specific sins. They will not ask God for his help to do what only He can do: save the lost, feed the hungry, free the captives, give wisdom to the rulers of this world, repair malfunctioning institutions, support persecuted Christians. .

This is a problem, and it seems many churches just don't realize how little they pray together, or how few of their prayers reflect the greatness of God's heart. It reminds me of John Stott's description of a prayer meeting he attended. Does this sound familiar to you?

I remember visiting a Church incognito a few years ago. I sat in the last row… When we came to the pastoral prayer, it was a lay brother who took care of it, because the pastor was on vacation. So he prayed that the pastor would have a good vacation. Very well. Pastors should be able to have a good vacation. Then he prayed for a woman member of the Church who was about to give birth, so that the birth would go smoothly. No problem. Then he prayed for another woman who was sick, and it was over. Nothing more. It took twenty seconds. And I said to myself: this is a village church with a village God. They don't care about the rest of the world. No thought for the poor, the oppressed, the refugees, the war zones, and world evangelism [1] .

What John Stott describes here is arguably true in many churches: from village prayers to village gods.

I heard Mark Dever say that we should pray so much in our Church meetings that unbelievers will be bored. We would talk too much to a God they disbelieve.

That may be a bit of a stretch, but we should certainly, together , as Christians and Church members, make better, bigger, more biblical prayers.

That is, in a nutshell, the purpose of this book: to learn to pray better and to pray more as churches. As our private prayer lives can be improved by the grace of God, so can our collective prayer lives.

The path to follow

No prayer book can say everything there is to say about prayer. Also, a fruitful prayer life is nurtured by constant practice, not by understanding theoretical propositions. However, as we get ready to travel together, I want to make sure that you are aware of the intended destination. My hope is that this book is a guide and a stepping stone that will help you appreciate the wonderful gift of prayer to which we have access as a Church .

Of all the books that have been written on prayer, this one has one specific purpose: to study how prayer shapes the life of the Church. So much has been written about prayer as a personal discipline. But little has been written about prayer as a necessary and collective activity that shapes local churches, whether through its presence or absence.

Tell yourself that this book brings in some crucial pieces that were missing from the five hundred pieces of the prayer puzzle already assembled. I benefit from the hard work of those who put together most of the image.

May you take this book for what it is, and may your churches flourish through solid and regular practice of collective prayer.

John Onwuchekwa

[1] John Stott, quoted in Ten Great Preachers, transl. free, Editions Bill Turpie, Baker, Grand Rapids, Mich., 2000, p. 117.

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