Some Thoughts on Prayer
“I prayed like hell, and luckily we made it…”
The words in the title were heard in a news report from one of the residents of Moore, Oklahoma. I know they were not “thought out” carefully, she was simply describing, in the moment, what had taken place in her life. However, the words used caused my mind to spin. First, describing my method of prayer as “like hell” seems contradictory. I am not sure how one prays in this manner. Second, to speak of my prayer being answered “luckily”… Well, I need to let that one sit for a while.
Paul writes these words to the Church: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).
Take a couple of minutes and consider the following questions. Perhaps, you could record you answers and send them to me. How do we approach prayer? When do we pray? What brings us to prayer? Who hears our prayer? What must we do to “get an audience” with the Almighty? Is prayer something we do regularly and persistently? Do we find ourselves praying at specific hours and in certain situations? Or, do we pray continuously? Why does God answer some prayers and not others?
Let me say this: I am not an expert on prayer; I am a person like you, one who is becoming a Follower of Jesus. I will walk with you through the Word. But, I have to admit I, too, am a disciple, sitting at Jesus’ feet and taking lessons along the way. Here are a few things of which I am certain: First, prayer is intended to be relational. God invites us to meet with him, to thank him for his many blessings, to tell him what is happening in our lives, and seek his help and direction. An important aspect of this is to stop and listen for his voice. Prayer is relationship with God. Jesus taught us to make this conversation a “habit” of our lives! Second, prayer is meant to be persistent. I think, I think the woman was trying to describe this in her account of praying “like hell”. Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1). Prayer is meant to be a constant in our lives, not an occasional aspect. Third, prayer is NOT MAGIC! We do not have to follow a formulaic approach to assure God’s response. Prayer is not a matter of speaking the right words in the right way to insure the right result! We are not “lucky” to have our prayer heard. When we pray, God hears our prayer, of this, we can rest assured. Finally, for now, God’s answers are “yes” and “no” and “not now”! God is God and we are not! That is a good thing, I am certain! He knows what is best for us, which is why we must pray, as did our Lord, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Perhaps, this has gotten you thinking about your own life of prayer. I hope it has! You can tell me what you are thinking, and we can start a dialogue about prayer.