It’s very easy for prayer to slide into the periphery, becoming punctuational, rather than central, within Christian community. When prayer becomes merely a way to start and end meetings, we have failed to grasp our utter corporate dependence upon God.
These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
If you find yourself in a Christian community that does not call its members together to pray, whose broad leadership does not lead first in humble prayer… if you find that prayer has become punctuational or peripheral in your church community, look then to the impact your church is having in the surrounding community and the world. You will likely find a strong correlation. When we are so proud as to think we can accomplish anything for the glory of Jesus without intentionally and regularly calling upon his name, acknowledging our own inadequacy, our need for his guidance and provision, we will find ourselves most likely serving our own ends and harming one another, and hence, the witness of the Church in the world.
If we are truly about doing the Lord’s work we must acknowledge our deep dependence upon the provision and grace of Jesus and therefore make prayer a central defining characteristic of our community.