Establishing the Rule of Play for Prayer
When We Pray With Others – Part 5
There are certain behaviors, as a group of people in society that when we get together, we can do and we cannot do. Even when you go to church, there are rules. Even though we don’t define them that way or say it that way. We enter at a certain time, we end at a certain time. There are some unspoken rules.
There are some unspoken rules that must be realized to make sure that each person remains safe, secured, encouraged, uplifted, loved, and respected as a part of the team. In fact, in any team like in football, there are some unspoken rules that the teammates must have. Rules like taking a knee when one of the players is injured. We know when you play football, they don’t have to teach you that. You’ve already picked that up by watching it over and over again. It’s an unspoken rule. You take a knee in honor and respect of a teammate or an opponent who has been injured.
With that in mind, what are the unspoken rules in prayer to make sure that a team member doesn’t get injured, harmed, hurt, abused, taken advantage of, or made to feel inferior? We have some unspoken rules that must be maintained so that the integrity, the mission, and the goal of our prayer time remains intact. We have unspoken rules so that we can maintain an atmosphere where people enjoy being in the presence of other people who pray.
Here are a few of those unspoken rules to consider. By the way, before I get to these, this list is not all inclusive and is not law. It’s just the major rules that should be present when we pray together as a team. So here we go.
Rule 1 – Respect the team’s time.
Most people, which is normal, have little respect for another’s time. If we say we’re going to be somewhere, let’s be somewhere on time. Let’s not make the team wait on us or limit what the team is capable of doing because we’re late. When the team is meeting at a certain time, let’s be with the team. The average person is usually late when it comes to things like a prayer service. Being late is an action that speaks to the value you place on a thing. Therefore, when we respect the time, we’re saying it is important. Why don’t we arrive early with anticipation for prayer and bring some energy and excitement to the team? As a team-player, respect the time and what we get to do as a team. Respect the team’s time and the time for prayer.
Rule 2 – Find a way to gel with the team.
You will be surprised at the fact that this doesn’t come naturally. Most prayer people don’t gel well. When it comes to praying together with others, pray-ers can be a little rigid, a little territorial, and a little self absorbed. It’s not uncommon for a pray-er (person who prays) to want to have it their way, do it their way, and see it their way. As a team we must see what we have to do as a team effort. We have to learn how to gel. How can I get along with my fellow teammate when it comes to prayer? How can we partner together so that we can win the game? If we’re going to reach the goal and do the thing that God has for us to do, we must learn how to gel.
Rule 3 – Respect the other players and the positions that they are playing.
Respecting the players and their position is not an easy thing to do when the average person is me-centric. This means he or she thinks about what he wants, what she wants to give, or how he/she wants to be viewed. We have to learn to value each player individually. In this way, we make praying together a safe environment for prayer. Not only are we creating a safe environment, but a secure environment for people to do what they have to do, and bring encouragement to each member of the team. Due to the nature of prayer which creates a place for people to be vulnerable, respect is extremely important. As members of a team, we must know that our teammates have respect for each other.
Rule 4 – Be a person of compassion.
I like this one because I’m reminded of this example. In the game of football, if a person gets injured on the field of play, the teams, both sides, will take a knee. They take a knee to show the injured person compassion. The fellow athletes have compassion for what just happened to the injured player because it could have easily been me. When I put myself into someone else’s position, that shows compassion. Sometimes we have to “take a knee” in prayer. How can we have compassion for those on the team? Therefore when we pray together, be a person of compassion. Take a knee when an injury occurs. Taking a knee in this way is one showing mercy, or asking for forgiveness.
Rule 5 – Don’t be a ball hog.
I had no other way to describe this unspoken rule, other than using this phrase. There are some people who just want to take center stage. A ball hog is a person who impairs the team by trying to do everything on their own. We can not have a ball hog on the team when we’re in a team sport. Praying together is a team effort. Otherwise you need to be praying alone. You cannot always have the ball. You cannot always have the floor. You cannot always have the mic, when this is a team activity. Therefore, we must learn how to share the space and hand the pass the ball off to the next player. When we pray together there is no room for a ball hog.
Rule 6 – Have a growth mindset.
An ordinary person doesn’t like change and can be set in their ways. If we’re going to be true to our beliefs, then we must always accept change and grow. We must always be that person who is willing to grow. That’s what it means to be a believer. In fact, the scripture says it like this, “iron sharpens iron.”  So one of the things that we must be good at is getting better. We sharpen each other and must be growth minded. Don’t be set in your ways. If your teammates are there to sharpen you, then get all the sharpening that you can. It can only make you better. Find a way to always be learning from your fellow teammates and the environment that you’re in. Everyone can teach you something.
As people who pray together, especially as a team, we must remember what and who we are representing. We’re representing others to God. In fact, we are the people who are looking out and standing in for someone else. We get to communicate with God on someone’s behalf. That means we communicate for others. “For others” means we’re going to communicate for people who don’t look like us, who don’t talk like us, who don’t think like us, who don’t behave like us, who don’t resemble us, who don’t have the same interests as us, or who don’t have the same hobbies and vocations as us. The same “others” are on the team and together we are going to pray for other “others.” We have to learn how we accept others and understand these unspoken rules. As a team, it is not what I want, it’s what God wants from us. We can’t have it our way, we have to give in to God’s way. This is not ordinary prayer. This is next level prayer.
Question: What other unspoken rules can you think of that should be on this list?