I read your article on “Brethren, pray for us” and would like to make the following comments.

At a weekend study on prayer (among other topics) an anonymous survey was taken with very direct questions. It is so clear that many brethren have a struggle with prayer, both personally and even ecclesially. Some have relied on the weekly ecclesial prayers as being sufficient, but we know that ecclesial prayers sometimes fall short of our individual yearnings! How has this situation come about?

I offer several other reasons. One is that our ecclesial prayers may be or are often too general, non-specific and more formal, rather than meaningful or purpose-driven. It is clear to me that often at meetings there may be little connection between say, ‘the announcements’, the topic for exhortation and the prayers offered. We choose hymns and readings to go with a talk, but leave the prayers to the individual, who then may not link everything together in a specific way.

Do we anticipate an outcome with heaven involved? Do we actually believe that God hears and acts? Selfreliance is sometimes too evident and we see God’s direct involvement as less necessary.

I attended a smaller meeting here in NZ recently where the prayer topics were openly discussed prior to the start of the meeting. The first prayer from the presiding brother focused on offering praise and expressing gratitude for our privileged position in the house of God. Various brethren were then invited to pray at times during the meeting mentioning specifics. They were short, direct, from the floor, with the brethren seated and bowed.

Several good things I noticed came from this practice. The meeting included much more prayer and more brethren were directly involved in the course of the meeting. It increased the spirit of involvement rather than just attendance. For example, when the announcements were given revealing the state of health of members etc, this was immediately followed by a number of short prayers. These prayers were then followed up with volunteers who helped with a hospital visit or some form of home-help, transport etc.

I offer this as comment only, seeing that you highlighted the way in which the Apostle Paul called for cooperation in prayer from many brethren for the work of the whole.

I suggest that a higher profile and more involvement with prayer at meetings and in the home will go a long way to aiding the health of our community. Communication between heaven and earth is a vital key to success.