Teach us to Pray
Updated: Apr 28
Jon Vaughan-Davies, minister at Bethel Baptist Church, Cardiff reflects on the upsurge in interest in prayer revealed by Google searches:
"In Crisis, We Pray."
I was reading recently (Link: https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/google-searches-for-prayer-skyrocket-as-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold) that the number of times people had typed the words 'pray', 'prayer', or 'how to pray' into Google has absolutely "skyrocketed" since this coronacrisis began.
An economist at the University of Copenhagen had been investigating this across 75 countries since the crisis began - the report based her research was called: "In Crisis, We Pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 Pandemic."
She went on to say: "The rise in prayer intensity supersedes what the world has seen for years... It is highly likely that the rise in prayer intensity will continue."
It reminded me of a time in David's life when "his heart was growing faint", and it lead him to call on God:
"From the ends of the earth I call to You,
I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to The Rock that is higher than I." (Psalm 61.2)
At times of uncertainty, we instinctively reach for "The Rock" - for greater security, strength, peace and hope - in short: in crisis, we pray. This isn't just simply happening right now - it is "skyrocketing' as people's lives, health, jobs, families and futures now suddenly seem shaken and uncertain.
All this got me thinking: But what of those who just don't know how to begin, or who are searching for help just to know how to pray. So, in response to this "rise in prayer intensity" I wanted to make a series of simple youtube videos simply called: "How can I pray?" as a growing resource for people to needed to be pointed up to The Rock, and be introduced to the God who invites them into a relationship with Him.
When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, He begins by giving them a simple pattern that we now call the Lord’s Prayer - but is probably best thought of as the Learner’s Prayer. I couldn’t think of a better place to start than that. Jesus is clear that prayer is simply a conversation as part of growing relationship between us and the God who longs for us to know Him as a heavenly father. So I thought the best way to explore this would be to simply film some conversations with people about prayer!
I’m praying that they will be helpful signposts for people in this time of uncertainty and anxiety to discover more of the presence and peace of God in prayer.
Extra resources: https://www.bethelcardiff.org.uk/still-yourself/
Jon blogs on the Bethel Baptist Church website and you can read more of his posts here