Following Jesus

discipleship • the inner life • prayer
community of goods • faith • repentance

Following Jesus

Recognizing National Day of Prayer

May 3, 2018 by

Today is National Day of Prayer in the United States, and I find myself thinking of the role of prayer in my own life and in the church. There is personal prayer for friends and family, for needs of which I am aware. And then there is prayer for all of humanity, for the suffering that cries to heaven and that will only be resolved when God’s kingdom finally comes. I love the line in Romans 8:26: “We do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

sunset over Woodcrest Bruderhof

I find Eberhard Arnold’s thoughts on the meaning of prayer mind-stretching and inspiring. He believed that the Christian church has a vital role in world history, not because of the charisma of its leaders but through the power of the Holy Spirit. He spoke on this thought at a Bruderhof fellowship meeting on July 6, 1934:

We meet each evening to plead that the kingdom of God might descend and come near to this earth, to pray for the Holy Spirit to come and bring the church down to us so that in the power of the Holy Spirit the true church may be experienced among us weak humans.

After the burden and heat of the day, after work, worries, and failings – often unconscious or unintentional – it is wonderful to be able to come before God and receive forgiveness, to experience again the complete cleansing and uniting of the church community.

Let us stand together in protecting what God gives us, making pure vessels of our hearts to guard it. Let us carry the light home in our hands, not allowing it to be blown out on the way. Let us ask God that he may newly kindle the holy light in our hearts through the descending flame of his Holy Spirit. Let us ask him to fit us into his great future, into his kingdom, into the creative powers that transform all things so that the old creation passes away. We ask for the powers of God’s great future to come to us so that we are enabled to live accordingly and to spread this message to all people. Then, in the midst of the old nature but having no part in its sinfulness and degradation, our whole life, day and night, will be a witness to the new creation.

Let us ask God that in the horrors of the present time people awake, thousands of people, so that their hearts turn from the “abomination of desolation which stands in holy places” (Matt.24: 15). Let us ask that many awake and search their hearts and turn to God, who created them; that they become one with the death of Christ, suffering death rather than killing others; that they become one with the life in Christ and his love so that they surrender all their powers and gifts; that they become one with the truth of God and break with the whole web of lies that enmeshes the world; that they become one with the heart of Jesus and reject all unclean spirits.

Let us ask God for his Holy Spirit so that we can answer for our decision with the last drop of our blood.


About the author

Emmy Maendel

Emmy Maendel

Emmy Maendel, an author with a particular interest in Bruderhof history, writes a regular blog post featuring timely...

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  • Denise Stringer, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

    Bruderhof Web Team
  • Thank you for your multi-generational witness.....from the high school to the nursing home to Eberhard Arnold's pastoral prayer from 1934, so relevant for July 4, 2018.

    Denise Stringer