I’ve talked enough. Today I want to hear from you. (I may make this a regular feature. We’ll see how it goes.)
Let’s talk about prayer.
Of all the tools in my Christian toolbox, I think prayer is one the hardest to understand…and to do well. It’s not that I don’t pray, I do. I just don’t think I’m very good at it. Despite my best intentions to stay focused, my mind wanders. I start out strong, but soon I’m thinking about the laundry, what’s planned for the day, a conversation I had and so on. Plus, there are so many people and circumstances to pray for, I never know when I’m done. Often I pray in bed at night. Inevitably I fall asleep. Is God OK with this?
I struggle with the concept that if God has preordained everything isn’t the thing I’m praying for going to happen whether I pray or not? Is God really listening? Sometimes God answers prayers. Sometimes He doesn’t. Why?
I've observed a lot of people using prayer as a magic wand like they’re trying to bend the will of God to their liking. Or they use prayer like a rabbit’s foot, rubbing it for good luck and a means of protection.
That said, in the years I’ve been a Christian I’ve grown a lot in regard to prayer. Among other things I’ve learned four important lessons:
1. God DOES answer prayer.
2. The more specific and personal my requests, the more specific and personal God’s answers.
3. Praying aloud with fellow believers in an intimate setting has allowed me to experience the presence of God and the Holy Spirit in incredibly powerful ways.
4. There are no perfect pray-ers. We may rank the “effectiveness” or “eloquence” of our prayers compared to others, but God doesn’t. I think nothing is more precious to our heavenly Father than a heart laid bare before Him, no matter what the words that cover it.
Now it's your turn. What's your experience with prayer? Why and how do you pray? Have you had specific answers to prayer? Do you struggle with hearing God or wonder if He’s even listening?