Candy blogs: I used to have a list of things to check off to verify that I was a good Christian. Prayer was on that list. It was right up there with a daily quiet time, going to church, reading the Bible and tithing. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things. But for a long time I had it backwards. I always thought that DOING them would MAKE me a good Christian. But I discovered that they are the RESULT of BEING a person in right relationship with God.
Prayer was one of the things I always had backwards. For most of my life I viewed prayer as me speaking carefully to God, careful to get all the official parts of a proper prayer in there. .. careful to get a good balance between telling God how wonderful He was and my list of prayer requests. When I prayed publically I was way too aware of how others viewed my prayers and my ability to pray. Another performance. What a waste of breath.
In reality, prayer is just a fancy word for conversing with God. It’s really that simple. We make it so complicated.
My first breakthrough about prayer was finding out it included listening. LOL! I had to learn to spend enough time at Jesus’ feet, consistently and over time, for his voice to became familiar. I was used to doing all the talking.
My most recent breakthrough about prayer was being truly aware that I was actually talking to the Living God. “Prayer” or “praying” sounds so religious. Like a religious activity. But just “talking” to God brings the reality of Him in close. He becomes real. He is infinite and mysterious and so much more than we can fathom. He is outside the box of what we know in our universe because He created the universe and the box.
Now when I pray, I focus on who I’m talking to. I’m no longer concerned about the others in the room. I’m talking to the Living God! If I could see God manifested in material form or truly perceive the depth and breadth of who he is, would I really let the cat or the knock at the door or the telephone interrupt our conversation?
Prayer is not telling God stuff He already knows or reguritating tired, over-used phrases.
“Dear Jesus, thank you for this day.”
“Dear Jesus, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.”
“Dear Jesus, help us have a good day.”
“Dear Jesus, we pray for traveling mercies.”
Much of public prayer is less about actually communicating with God Almighty and more like a commercial for things that are coming up or things that have happened … more to tell the others in the room some piece of valuable information.
If I had to wait in a long line to speak to Billy Graham, when I FINALLY got up to him would I say, “Rev. Graham, pray for me to have a good day”? Not on your life. If I had moments with Billy Graham I would want as much of all that wisdom as he could pour into me. I would ask honest questions. I would tell him my honest struggles. I would ask for real answers. And I would believe what he told me because he’s Billy Graham, for heaven’s sake!
But he isn’t GOD …
… and yet we interact or don’t interact with God as though earthly “celebrities” have more impact on us than God himself. We live as though we can meet God on our terms … when we get around to it … when it’s convenient … when he fits into our lifestyle. How’s that workin’ for ya?
Listening and talking … being aware of the other person and interacting with them. That is conversation. That is praying. That is part of living in relationship.
Love it. Have a conversation about it.