When you hear the phrase, missional prayer, what do you think it is?
What makes prayer missional or unmissional?
Here are a few thoughts I have. Firstly, as with David Augsburger and Richard Foster, I would say there are three dimensions to Christian spirituality: moving upwards in worship (God focus), moving inwards in confession (self focus), moving outwards in intercession (other focus). And I would say this three dimentional perspective necessarily leads to some related questions, which are: What is missional worship? What is missional confession? What is missional intercession? So to expand…
Prayers of worship. Prayer, when missional, begins with the recognition that our God is a missional God, a self sending God. Before we speak of God, we should listen to God, and the God who speaks through scripture is a sending (and sent) God. This is the God we worship. When our master taught us how to pray, he left no gap between “Our heavenly Father, holy is your name” and “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Neither should we. God is not passive, God is active.
Prayers of confession. Prayer, when missional, includes recognition that what is wrong with the world begins with us, with I. Changing the world begins with changing the self. Changing society begins with changing the church … and we are the church … so it begins with our own confession and inner transformation, as individuals and as a community. We cannot expect any missional success whilever the church, whilever we, remain introspective and arrogant.
Prayers of intercession. Prayer, when missional, includes recognition that God saved us whilst we were all enemies of God. Intercession should therefore include prayers for forgiveness of our enemies, that as we have come to know the ways of faith and love, so they would come to to know the ways of faith and love. Intercessory prayer, when missional, does not involve the demonization of enemies, whatever gods they worship. Demonization is of the devil.
So, what happens for you inside, reading this? Are you draw to it? Do you object violently? Are you left with questions or uneasy feelings? I would like to hear, even if you don’t normally comment.