James 5:1 (KJV) Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Problem of Prayer

Prayer seems to be the most difficult subject of all for Christians, and yet it is the very heart of our relationship to God, the key that opens every door through which we discover God's purpose for our lives. Our relationships with others are a direct reflection of our prayer lives, and prayer is therefore critical in how effective our service will be. Without input from God we are acting on our own, from our own desires and motives, with our own insight ... and, remember, we see through a glass darkly. We are lamps that are not plugged in!

Prayer is too often seen as a pious and boring chore which we secretly dread so much that we continually put it off. But surely we are missing some important truth if our ability to communicate directly with God himself fails to be the most exhilarating possible activity! We have direct access to the greatest power in the universe. Why do we fail to plug into that power as we would plug a lamp into a power outlet?

Might it be our tendency to focus on what WE will do in this communication with God? How will we fill up an allotted amount of time with words? What kind of relationship is it where one person does all the talking, and doesn't even feel like it? If we want to communicate with God in person, perhaps what He has to say is more important than what we have to say. Or maybe we have some stereotype of what our prayer time must be like. The way 'everyone' does it.

What if we started with praise? It might surprise us to learn that if we begin to praise the Lord specifically for each of our blessings there is almost no end in sight. It is inevitable that we will become overcome with joy in this dialogue with God. And then we will want to listen, to hear God speaking to us, opening doors we would otherwise miss, correcting and directing our thoughts, our words, our actions, making us more like Himself -- until we cherish Him so much that we find we need to be in communication with Him every moment. And it is in this way that we develop a true and deep relationship, one in which we trust Him, and He can trust us. One where we don't make a move without Him. Where we pray without ceasing.

As we approach the beginning of a new year I challenge you to set aside a specific prayer time on your daily calendar. During that time ask the Lord to speak to you, read a passage of scripture, praise Him for specific blessings and listen to His voice. He will speak and we will be empowered to change our lives, our relationships and our community. Believe it. And we will have God for our best friend. You can't start off a year better than that.

Plug into the Power.

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