Sunday, August 28, 2011

This Thing Called Prayer

Prayer. It means different things to different people. Depending on where you grew up, or what religion had the largest impact on you, prayer could look very different. Throughout my childhood, my family went to church: twice on Sundays and once on Wednesdays. I remember my sister and I being the only children in our church choir, as we came with our mother to rehearsals. It was the whole experience... On the outside. The one thing I lacked was inward revelation. I spent many years, knowing that I was “saved,” but not really knowing what that meant; besides the part where I wouldn’t spend eternity in a very hot and horrible place.

All those years I floated through my days on a cloud of ignorance. What I didn’t have, I didn’t know about, so I never set out to look for it. What I didn’t have was something called revelation. No, I’m not talking about the last book of the Bible. What I am talking about is when God reveals His ways to His people, in real, tangible, and meaningful ways.

Prayer, just like everything else in the realm of a Christian’s life, is meant to be powerful and poignant, not passive and pathetic. Feeble attempts to show oneself to be more devout than he really is does nothing for the Kingdom of God, nothing for man’s eternal spirit. Often times we think of prayer as a magic genie wish list, especially when life gets frighteningly tough. But in all things, we are to acknowledge Him – even in the good.

So how does this look to an average person in today’s incredibly busy society? I believe that in all things, we are to look to God for direction. Again, how does this look? Well, to be perfectly honest, prayer is simply the act of talking with God, and listening. You can be anywhere. You can be doing anything. You can speak out loud, sing, whisper, or do it silently. He is so much bigger than we can ever dare to imagine; He knows our thoughts – don’t ask me how, I’m not Him – but He does.

The second part is often forgotten about: listening. How do we hear the voice of God? Well, waiting is a vital part of this communication process. After we speak our mind to Him, we must wait on Him. Sit, stand, lie down, whatever you need to be doing, and wait patiently for His guiding wisdom. Oftentimes this comes from a “sense” of what to do, that we know in our heart of hearts. Other times, we are led to a scripture passage or even a sermon or teaching, to uncover truths within the mystery of our current situations. And still in other instances, we find that God’s words come from another believer in the form of advice, or a prophetic word (which is basically direction from God, being spoken through one of His children). How do we know it’s “His” advice and not “his” advice? Many times we just know, and other times we must seek more, and wait for a confirmation. God has equipped each of His believers – His children – with the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is our helper, our advocate; and will guide us in these things.

The most important thing though, is to actually make a habit of daily, even hourly prayer. Remember that prayer doesn’t have to follow a formula, or be a certain amount of time to “count.” Just as you would speak with anyone in your life, this is how you could speak with God. Just remember that God is a mighty God that deserves nothing less than our ultimate respect and gratitude. In all things, consider your actions, and remember to consider them with your heavenly Father.

This is my prayer – my true prayer – this night: that we, as believers, will come to know a prayer life that is alive and acceptable in the eyes of Almighty God. When God’s people pray, things happen. When God’s people pray, lives change. When God’s people pray, the enemy has no option but to flee. And God’s people grow stronger, bolder, and braver in today’s uncertainties, when they simply pray.

Peace, love, and cider mugs...