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Rethinking Church  

Are we sure we're doing church right?

Let me cut to the chase.  I'm uncomfortable with the way we've divvied up the typical church service.  In an average 75 minute service, we American evangelicals typically do 5 minutes of announcements, at least 20 minutes of singing, 30-40 or more minutes of preaching.  Throw in the offering, a greeting time and benediction... and that leaves about 5 minutes for a pastoral prayer and two minutes for a closing payer.  Meaning we spend about as much time on announcements as we do on prayer.

Does that strike you as out of whack?  Don't answer until I respectfully remind you that I Thessalonians 5:17 urges us to “Pray without ceasing.”   Philippians 4:6 instructs us that “in   everything by prayer and supplication” we ought to seek God.  Could I further gently add that despite our modern penchant for worship music, Jesus never said, “My house shall be a house of singing.”  But Jesus DID say, “My house shall be a house of prayer.”

Let me take in a breath...possibly freak you out...and suggest that we need to do less singing—perhaps even drop a few illustrations from the message—and do more praying in church.

There's only so much space in a given church service.  And if we've assigned so much of it to music that it squeezes out prayer, we're out of biblical balance.  Search the book of Acts—the most complete blueprint we have for doing church—and you'll find a heavy emphasis on prayer, on breaking bread, on fellowship, on instruction in the Word.  But what you DON'T see is a huge emphasis on music.

That's not to say we shouldn't sing…or have sermon illustrations.  Of course the biblical precedent for worship music is clearly there. And illustrations provide a window into understanding God's Word. But not to the extent that they upstage significant prayer. 

Truth is, it's tough to honestly study Scripture and disagree with the conclusion that in general, we're not praying enough. 

It's time we gave prayer in our Sunday assembly the same emphasis the Bible gives it. A given church service has only so many slots...so many minutes.   It's time our church services emphasized more of what the Bible emphasizes more of:  prayer.  




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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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