Church in Arequipa: Prayer

Sundays in Arequipa are currently focused on prayer.  Personally, I have felt convicted to pray more about the work.  Knowing the prayerfulness of some brothers and sisters who are worthy of imitation, I always feel I should be more prayerful.  The difference now is that I am feeling called, urged, prompted to pray.  I hesitate to say "more," though, as if the issue were quantity.  It is, I think, about a way of seeing the world—perceiving the need to live, think, and speak more according to the way things really are.  Prayer, it seems, is often a matter of listening and looking, hearing and seeing, fixing eyes and mind on a dimension of reality that we call unseen.  
As the church's previous study came to a close, I asked some of the church leaders what should be next.  I had only one topic in mind, which you can guess, but I wasn't sure it was the right one for the whole church.  Only one person spoke up: "Why not prayer?"  Thank you, God, for speaking at a volume I can hear.  
Some gifts of the Spirit make me nervous.  I figure I was taught to feel that way, since, as far as I can see, the same gifts make most Churches of Christ nervous.  In fact, we have a pretty pat teaching about which gifts made it out of the first century and which didn't, even though the Bible doesn't make any such claim.  In truth, it doesn't make much sense to me to put limits on God in any event, but I still get nervous.  Come to think of it, that is probably a fair reaction to the Spirit of Almighty God who goes and does where and what he will.  
There is another issue, though.  I think many of us nervous types are averse to charismatic Christianity because it has appeared at times to challenge the authority of the Bible—which goes hand-in-glove with the claim that the Bible replaced prophecy, tongues, visions, dreams, and the like (that pat teaching I mentioned).  That's not my other issue, though.  I'm pretty settled on the ultimate normativeness of the Canon, so any word from the Lord, personal or congregational, is just going to have to conform to Scripture or otherwise be a Damascus Road experience for me.  That leaves me without much anxiety about challenges to the authority of the Bible.  Rather, I'm nervous about power.  
I live in a place where the biblical warnings that some might abuse spiritual power, even in the name of the Lord, are extremely practical.  I'm not trying to cast judgment on whole movements, so let me be specific.  There are numerous grifters and con artists around these parts, who reduce faith in Jesus to "tithes" in exchange for miracles and reduce spirituality to speaking in ecstatic languages both unintelligible and uninterpreted.  But such corruption aside, the Corinthian church was a case study in the power dynamics of perceived spirituality, which too many of us perceive most readily in "deeds of power, wonders, and signs" rather than the power of cruciform love.  Of course, in the absence of "miraculous" gifts, our power dynamics are keyed to other gifts, such as knowledge and administration, and corruption there is just as deadly.  So, to clarify, I'm not nervous about power per se but the potential abuse of power that certain gifts obviously tend to foster, more so in certain cultures (see Acts 8:4–24).  
All that to say, I'm not opposed to miraculous gifts categorically, and if I can see conformity to Scripture, especially to Jesus' own use of power according to love (see 1 Cor 1:18–2:5; 13), then I fight to keep an open mind. 
In case you are wondering, I haven't changed subjects.  Not long ago, a Latin American missionary I think a lot of shared a dream with me.  He dreamed he was having a conversation about the growth of other Christian groups in Latin America.  These are groups he and I would both want to critique on a number of issues.  The conclusion of the dreamed conversation was simple: they grow because they pray.  "Whatever you want to say about their doctrine," he said as he described the dream, "they pray."  Hearing his words, a profound sense of confirmation settled over me, if that makes sense.  And I understand if it doesn't.  I'm struggling for language here.
A few days later, a Christian brother here asked to meet with me.  After some small talk, he told me he wanted to share a dream he recently had.  "I dreamed you were praying," he said, "and you looked sad."  He asked if I was sad or upset.  I confessed that I have been worried about the wellbeing of the church and felt frustrated and uncertain about what I could or should do.  I didn't tell him that I have been trying to pray more because of that feeling.  He continued, "Well, I saw you that way, and then I said to you, 'The church is the Lord's.'  That's all.  I don't know what it means."  I was, as you might imagine, dumbstruck and moved.  I'll leave the interpretation open, but it seemed to me fairly straightforward.  I am resolved to "keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints," (6:18) not because of fear and uncertainty but because they are the Lord's.  
So, the connection is probably clear now.  If you are nervous about this report, well, join the club.  Is the whole business of dreams subjective?  Sure.  Potentially dangerous?  Honestly, I think most aspects of church are far more serious and fraught with risk than our attitudes usually suggest.  At this point, all I know is that I'm thankful for words spoken through brothers and sisters without self-interest—words that encourage and enliven and push me back to Scripture and prayer and onward in hope and work.  And I'm trying to listen more closely than ever before.

Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
— Paul, Ephesians 6:23-24