Readings for September 6, 2020
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
I joined a small men’s group at church about a year ago. We meet weekly for about an hour to discuss books we all choose to read together. I was hesitant to join at first, because I am typically less than proud of how I behave in these types of groups. I am, as I have written before, one who speaks more than listens, particularly when a topic delights my ego. And, of course, when I’m not the one talking, I want to believe the other person is the one who talks too much. And it has been my experience that I am not the only one who comes to these types of groups with that philosophy.
Ostensibly, small group gatherings are the perfect example of Jesus’ claim that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am with them.” But where they can break down is “if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted by my heavenly Father.” It doesn’t matter how many people are gathered together if we are only speaking to hear ourselves speak, and no one is listening to the others. If I cannot check my ego at the door, I will not be in agreement with my fellow group members, and it will just be me praying by myself. And that would spoil everything.
Fortunately, in this group we seem to spend more time chatting about one another’s lives than we do giving my ego wanton air time. We pray together. And we check in with each other about what we prayed for the previous week. And this is where the magic happens–the answer to our individual intentions is found deep within the connection we have built through our group prayer. Importantly, there is no room for ego or for over-talk when we share our prayers with each other. We listen with our hearts as well as our ears. We get to know one another through prayer. And what has become very clear is that there is something special about not being alone on the journey. And, despite my own flaws in these types of gatherings, in my prayers with these men, I see weekly the promise that Jesus made of God the Father.
My Lord God, thank you for being in the midst of our small gatherings. May the answers You grant to our prayers and petitions bring you glory through Your Son our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen