Praying like monks, living like fools

Spotlight Books Prayer
An Image of Steve Small Steve Small
6th June 2024
An image of the book 'Praying like Monks'

I like reading, I’m slow but it helps order my thoughts after a crazy day. 

Similar to reading, I also like prayer, I’m slow and inconsistent but know how crucial prayer is to my walk with Jesus. I’ve learnt a lot from some incredible prayers over the years. Our Eden team recognised early on there was little point in doing anything or even being a team if we didn’t start and continue with prayer. When we did – things happened, when we didn’t – they didn’t. 

I have been asking myself what the difference is between those who go the distance and those who burnout or dropout. Tyler Stanton hits on something I need reminding of in his book Praying Like Monks Living Like Fools. Tyler is inspired by people and movements though he doesn’t just read about prayer he practices and is passionate about prayer. He gives good advice and shares stories we all love about God answering the prayers of his people.

What caught my attention though was what he says about the combo of prayer and mission. 

“Prayer and mission fit together, hand in glove. To pray is to be invited to uncomfortable mission. To pray is to be led by the hand to broken places, broken people, and broken parts within yourself. Jesus feels at home in the company of the misfits, marginalized, oppressed, and outcast, so if you spend time in conversation with Jesus, you better believe he’ll invite you to come with him where he’s going. N. T. Wright writes, “The Christian vocation is to be in prayer, in the Spirit, at the place the world is in pain.” Proximity to pain lends credibility and power to our prayers.”

Mission doesn’t work without prayer and what are we praying if it doesn’t lead to mission, especially mission in proximity to and with people in pain?

Tyler warns of the danger in skipping or not focusing on intimacy and proximity with Jesus, going straight for social action and justice, though worthy it doesn’t lead to kingdom fruit and often ends in burnout and resentment. 

“Intimacy in prayer is the way to lasting fruitfulness. Our lives are about intimacy. Fruitfulness is the collateral gain of that intimacy.”

Written by

Steve Small

Steve Small co-leads the Eden Network alongside his wife Sarah. Eden is a movement of urban missionaries who live in some of the UK’s toughest communities. He and Sarah live with their three boys on an estate in South Manchester which has been home for over 12 years. He is passionate about mission and Jesus – longing to see those at the edges of society making disciples who both transform their communities and awaken the church.

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