For those of you who grew up with a religious background, you may be able to relate to the one thing that can be irritating about corporate worship-the congregational prayer. Some people who are willing to pray in front of a congregation of worshipers tend to lose all sense of time and practical purpose of the corporate prayer. They see it as a time where they can wax eloquent since their audience is “captive”. I always thought that prayer was something personal between the individual and God. So if you’re praying on behalf of a congregation, keep it simple and direct and get on with it. Thankfully, after reading Max Lucado’s Before Amen, I know have some evidence on my side.
Mr. Lucado does a good job breaking prayer down into simple principles. And he does so in a simple manner. There’s only nine chapters, so a complex topic like prayer doesn’t get bogged down in dogma or theology. Instead, Mr. Lucado keeps reminding us that at it’s simplest roots prayer is a conversation with God. Several different contexts are presented in the book in which one finds oneself needing to send a prayer to the man upstairs. Some, like on behalf of one who is ill or injured, don’t require much on our part other than to recognize that there is nothing we can do to help the individual, other than to lift up their needs to God.
One of the important take-aways from the book is remembering that God doesn’t need ornate, formulaic prayers. He just wants to hear from us. Sometimes a simple, I need help God, is all the invitation He needs. Prayer is sometimes a mindset rather than an actual conversation. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the topic of prayer or who’s looking to rejuvenate their prayer life.