Aug. 15, 2015

Prayer changes things

Prayer is an amazing thing. It is the most powerful human tool in the universe, but one we either refuse to tap into OR have a tendency to misunderstand. Prayer is our connection with God. Prayer solves everything.

Bold statements, huh? Especially if you are reading this after going through an intense time of hurt and disappointment.  You may be wondering if there is a God in the first place. If God is so good, why is life so bad?

Prayer is misunderstood; therefore, we misunderstand the power of prayer. We would do well to study how Christ prayed and mirror our prayer life after Him.  In doing so, we would have to face the harsh reality that God didn’t answer all of Christ’s prayers the way Christ prayed them. Christ, in His total devotion to righteousness, ended His most intense prayer with “Thy will be done.” This simple phrase reveals everything about the depth of spiritual sensitivity.

“Thy will be done.”  Jesus taught to ask for anything in His name and we would receive it. The message has been lost in translation.  When we walk with God, our goal should be intimate communication with Him; not making demands of Him in order to feel heard. Asking in His name doesn’t mean we set traps for Him to prove Himself worthy of our trust.  Silly us! Prayer is just the opposite.  It is stepping into His inner circle, on our own free will, acknowledging to Him that we are unworthy of His trust.

The authencity in prayer is heard in the man's voice who said, "I believe.  Help me in my unbelief."  Ah....that's authentic conversation.

Many people make the mistake of demanding God do something “in Jesus’ name.”  We spit our demands at Him “in Jesus’ name.”  We cannot even get a sentence out of our mouth “in Jesus’ name” without playing the common prayer game of “name it and claim it.”  Doing this reveals the fact that we really don’t understand prayer at all. There isn't a secret sauce to success.  There is a love-based relationship or there is nothing.

Some of our most meaningful times of prayer can be in total silence. Other times, we can lay our wants and wishes before God and simply close by saying, as Jesus did, “Thy will be done, Father."

Prayer is conversation. Prayer should offer release and guidance. Prayer is not a roulette wheel or slot machine.  It isn’t a process of putting in a wish list and crossing our fingers hoping that the desired result will come out.  Prayer is voicing the need knowing He knows the best answer and loving Him enough to let Him show us His answer. As we mature in Him, we become willing to wait for Him to answer at just the right time.

We would do well to rethink our prayer life.  Let’s say it – voice it; not spray it – demand it.  Let’s place our needs at the feet of Jesus, step away, and utter the words, “Thy will be done.”  I believe we will be overwhelmed by what comes next. It won't be gobble-dee-goop graffiti.  It will be words of beauty, truth and trust.

Amen.