Going to start a little experiment.
Well, it’s not terribly small, given that it will take nearly a third of a year that’s already one-fourth done.
I’m calling the idea Centurion Prayer. I already like the name, so don’t try to change my mind. The idea is 100 days of prayer, and it’s not a new idea — there is already a book on it, and not mine — and relative to what we’re constantly told is the average person’s attention span there’s been a ton of material on such a thing.
Although given what is supposed to be the average evangelical’s attention span (40 days) it’s still pretty ambitious.
I first came across the concept a few years ago, when I read about a pastor in the Midwest, or possibly Texas, who had launched his church on this basis, and annually engaged in the practice. It wasn’t so much 100 days of the same prayer (the idea of the above-linked book) but simply a pledge that one would pray for that length of time. It seems it would be hard enough to exact that without deciding that it should be the same prayer each time. Though there is some value in the focus that latter idea generates.
There’s also, at first glance, a gimmickry to it. For instance, 100 is probably chosen because it’s a nice fat round number. It sounds magical, no? It’s going to smack of the much-maligned Prayer of Jabez concept from a decade+ ago. I actually rather like Jabez, and I believe Mr. Wilkinson wasn’t actually suggesting that the poor forgotten OT guy’s cry to the Lord was incantatory, but simply faithful: ask God and He will give what you need.
[It’s also possible this is not actually what Jabez’s prayer, found here, says. In context, we may have a guy who, while “more honorable” is borne in pain. So he asks God for no more of that pain bidness, and God agrees. The book’s version doesn’t have Jabez asking the Lord to keep him (Jabez) from personal pain, but rather from causing pain to others. It seems either is possible — Jabez has seen pain and doesn’t want to cause it — plus it would be odd to mention that he was honorable, if he’s then going to wuss out on having any more pain … and highly unlikely it would be granted, in this life anyway.]
So yeah, it doesn’t seem all that new and groundbreaking to pray for 100 days, or to “call” one’s prayers “something” at all. But that’s how what I’m going doing is a little new.
Because I saw The Centurion aspect of it to start with. I thought of the several centurions in the New Testament, here in Matthew 8 or Luke 7; and here in Matthew 27 or Mark 15; here in Acts 10; and here in Acts 22-24. In a couple of these cases we find faithful followers of Christ; in one or more we find testimony to truth; in all of them we find dutiful men doing what is right.
All of these speak to prayer.
The faithful follower of Christ should testify to truth by perseverance in prayer.
And that’s what this experiment I began today is about: 100 days of prayer, in obedience to our Lord.