More from Christian Coon
I think one of the reasons I was drawn to today’s topic of whether there’s a “right” way to pray is because I’ve been writing a lot about failure in recent months. I’m one of the co-founders of a new United Methodist Church in Chicago called Urban Village Church. We began worshiping in March 2010 and today we have four campuses throughout the city. I was approached a couple years ago to write a book about the experience of planting this new church. There are a lot of books out there that give recipes for church growth, but I’ve been more interested in how individuals or churches bounce back when things don’t always go as planned. My idea, then, was to write a book about failure as a springboard to ministry health. Failing Boldly: How Falling Down in Ministry Can Be the Start of Rising Up is the fruit of my labors and will be released by Wesleyan Church Planting Resources in early June.
We often say that folks come to us because they’ve been bored or burned by religion in the past, and prayer and reading the Bible are two of the spiritual practices that really intimidate them. Some think they’ll “fail” at praying so they don’t even attempt it. I try to assure them that what God really wants is relationship and what matters most is saying what’s on your heart and mind and then listening to see if something (an image or a word or a phrase) comes to mind. There is often a look of relief when I tell them that even a simple prayer like, “Dear Jesus, Thank you. Amen.” is music to God’s ears.
I try to put up a weekly devotional on my Tumblr page, www.christiancoon.tumblr.com, and I also email this devotion out and would be happy to add anyone to that email list (email firstname.lastname@example.org and they can put you in touch with me). In addition, if any of you are interested in receiving daily guided meditation podcasts during Lent, my church has been offering those. You can find them at www.uvchurch.podbean.com.
- Christian Coon
Pictured above, top to bottom: Christian with his family and their dog while hiking in the Indiana Dunes State Park, Christian in Oxford, England