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The Call to Prayer in Community Through Christ and Ourselves

March 28, 2025 @ 6:00 pm March 30, 2025 @ 1:00 pm Barnesville OH and online

Facilitated by Constance Bair-Thompson and Jennie Isbell Shinn

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. [James 5:15-16 KJV]

As followers of Christ, we are called to reflect the glory of God into the world, and to enjoy communion with Him and with one another.  We are to be not just individuals in faith, but a People of God, set apart, and Friends of Jesus (John 15:15).  Through prayer, we can receive the strength and guidance from our Lord that we need to accomplish those higher callings.  Our very lives are a gift from our Creator, and our prayer life is not to be separate.

What could we gain by focusing more on spiritual experience and prayer in community?  What do we lose if we only focus on individual spiritual experience and individual prayer?  How can prayer help us to be a people of God in our time?

It isn’t ever really “I” that prays anyway, but “we” the Church, the whole Body of Christ, that is praying.  Even when we pray in private, we join others in the Church who are praying.  The first word, after all, in what is called the Lord’s prayer is the word “Our.”

This retreat is geared toward experienced “pray-ers” as well as the more inexperienced among us. During our time together, we will explore the gift of prayer and its many benefits, with a focus on prayer within community.  Both public (or corporate) prayers, as well as praying for each other, offer to be a powerful part of our life in community and can lead to healing, growth, and wholeness for us as individuals as well as for the group.  We pray, but it is God who provides the increase.

 What can we learn from the prayer life of Jesus as portrayed in the four Gospels?  What do the Old Testament and the Epistles of Paul have to teach us about prayer in community?  We will look to the communal prayer life of that first church in Jerusalem as portrayed in the Acts of the Apostles after Pentecost as the prototype Christian faith community.  The writings of early Friends, especially George Fox, and more modern Friends too, have much to teach us about prayer in community.

In small groups, we will endeavor to create a safe space for sharing deeply and praying for each other during the weekend.  And if we feel so led, we will look at how we can continue in prayer with each other after the retreat and in our home communities