A strange thing happened in our church house group this week. We were looking at the subject of prayer in (Mat. 6 5-15) and discussing (among other issues) how we might be in danger of hypocritical prayer when one member of the group suddenly spoke up and described his daily practice. This involved using a liturgical prayer to the Trinity which then set the scene for other prayers. Then he looked straight across at the group leader and said: 'How do you pray?'
As polite English people who tend to be private on such matters this was a considerable shock. But our group leader began to describe how he prayed, often while in the car, Then it was the turn for each of us to share our daily practice. Only six of us were present which probably helped the openness. It still took several minutes to listen to each other and reflect. Aware of the dangers of hypocrisy we all admitted our practice was not always consistent. It was a really deepening experience.
Being put on the spot spiritually is unusual for most of us. I recall as Principal of Spurgeon's College being present in my home church of Holmesdale, South Norwood. Alas, I rarely attended because most weekends I was away preaching. After this morning service, an older West Indian gentleman sitting close by turned and asked me: ' How is your walk with Jesus?' It was a shock....but I thought afterwards it shouldn't have been. I know it will expose hypocrisy but that is the key question. And 'How do you pray? is another. How would those questions find you?