I admit: I love girl-talk. Add a comfy booth and coffee and I'm in heaven. When I head out the door to meet a friend for coffee, I know I'm really heading out for a couple of hours of encouragement, sharing, and the give and take of conversation. Good stuff!
But not too long ago, I began wondering about these "gab-fests." What do I really hope to gain from all these? A sympathetic ear? Womenly advice? Shared wisdom? Yes, all of that. And yet, beyond the temporary relief of getting it all off my chest, something is lacking.
Maybe it's not really something, maybe it's Someone.
You see, for all the talk-talk-talking, we do, my friends and I don't pray together. Oh, we share prayer requests, and I have no doubt that we do pray for each other, but we don't sit side-by-side, joined by the power of the Holy Spirit, in prayer. I wonder why.
Scripture certainly encourages it: Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20). Personally, I long for it; but even in the 13 years I've been part of a small group of women leaders, this is an area that remains blocked. We make the occasional forays into the intimacy of shared prayer, but never has it been sustained.
Could it be we've turned this conversation with our Lord into something it's not meant to be? Abundantly able to express our thoughts through the spoken word, do we stumble to express our thoughts in prayer because we're worried about whether or not we "do it right?" I know I've fallen into "prayer envy" on occasion, impressed with the eloquence of another's words, or her ability to pepper her petitions with scripture.
Maybe our lack of praying together has something to do with our emotions. Huddled in that booth with my friends, I can laugh out loud and create quite a commotion sharing good news; or I can hang my head while tears stream down my face over sorrows. So, why do I feel inhibited sharing those same emotions with my Lord in the presence of my believing friends?
Something in me wants more than just an assurance that my friends are praying for me - I want the words! I want to know what is being prayed. I don't think I'm alone in this.
I've sent my words of prayer to friends through cards and e-mails, and those prayers always elicit grateful responses. Friends have told me they've cried, felt encouraged and loved, and been prompted to add their own prayers. How much more powerful might our prayers be if we would take that vulnerable step toward one another, clasp hands, and pray?
What about you? Have you found that circle of praying friends? Or maybe you think talking through requests and private prayer is enough. I'd love to hear your comments.