|Ramblings and Random Thoughts About Prayer in American|
|Ramblings and Ponderings about Prayer
I am not setting out to make any dogmatic statements here, just Rambling thoughts. Much has already been said about prayer. I have been thinking about the "subject of Prayer" much of the last week. When I got to church today our pastor started a new series on prayer. He made a statement that he had decided he should probably preach a series on prayer every year. I could not agree more. Last year he did a four part series titled iPray 1.0. Kent Mattox also wrote a small booklet called iPray which I think is basically an expanded version of the four messages he preached. I have read the booklet several times and loaned it to friends to read. I understand an expanded version of that book will be published soon.
There is little doubt in my mind that the American church is very weak on prayer. I know some churches are exceptions. There are real prayer warriors in some of our churches. However, I think prayer is a weak point in many or most churches today. I certainly donít know but I am wonder if it is that way because it is a weak point for many staff members in our churches. If all this is true, and I believe it is, why is that? There are many questions in my mind that beg to be answered.
I am sure there are many reasons and certainly more than I know. I pondered all this and I had some rambling thoughts about the reasons. I have run across many people who on one hand seem to believe in prayer and believe that it matters. On the other hand, they believe God is so sovereign that whatever happens is Godís will and Godís will is what comes to be. I will give you an example of what I mean. Several years ago at a church I was attending we were having a special "prayer time" on Tuesday evenings to specifically pray about upcoming national elections, which were soon to take place. We sat in a circle and everyone who wanted offered up a prayer. Several, more than one or two, made a statement in their prayers similar to, "and God we know that your will, will be done in this election." Implying that they believed Godís will was already determined for the election because of his sovereignty. Ok. I am sitting there thinking, "If that is true, why are we wasting our time. I could be home watching a cop show on TV?" I know God is a sovereign God, but if my prayers donít change things, then why pray? If some believe the sovereignty of God has determined everything that happens, then those people will most likely have no real prayer lives. Maybe no power in prayer. Because without faith it is impossible to please God. Just saying...... You gotta have faith that your prayer matters. I know God is sovereign and that whatever God decrees happens. I am sure God permits many things to happen which he does not decree to happen.
I believe some folks donít pray very much because they really donít know what to pray about. You know: thank you, forgive me and bless me and mine just does not take very much time to pray. The iPray book really opened up something for me. That is to ask questions. Starting on page 13 and continuing on page 14 some questions are listed. They are a great guide. Just before these he lists a quote, "Prayer is not a spare wheel that you pull out when you need it. It is a steering wheel that can direct you on the right path." Some of them do not fit everyone but they are a great starting place for your questions. I printed the questions on small cards and put one in my shirt pocket, gave one to my wife, gave four to a friend to give family members and emailed them to my smart phone. Here are the questions from the iPray book by Kent Mattox:
These questions gave much direction to my prayers and helped invigorate my prayer time. Notice these questions all ask God to direct our lives. Asking for specific directions may just be the most important prayer we can pray. I would also add it can be the most dangerous. Hey, asking God to tell you who you should give to and how much you should give can be scary if you really mean it and are listening for the answer. And that is just one of the questions seeking Godís direction for my life.
Something I think adds life to prayer is praise. I like to start with a praise song or two. Maybe I will sing them softly or just "think" them loudly. I may even beat on the guitar and do a song before prayer sometimes when I have something really pressing or important to talk with God about. David is said to be a man after Godís heart and the Bible is very clear he was, above all else, a man who praised God. Praised him with radical praise. Some would say, "Well thatís just not me." Ok. Just praise him some way to start your prayer. It will energize your prayers I guarantee it.
There is another question that some people need to answer for themselves about prayer. It is an important question. That question is, "What is praying in the Spirit, praying in the Holy Spirit." Why is it important. Well, we are instructed to pray in the Spirit several times in the Epistles. Ephesians 6:18 is one example and another one is Jude1:20. There are others that tell us more, but you can find them for yourself. In light of these several scriptures to guide us I find it amazing that some pastors never urge or even tell their folks they need to look at these verses and they need to pray in the Holy Spirit. Different churches think that it means different things. I guess that is alright as long as that church is urging the people there to pray in the Spirit and explaining just exactly what that is. It is apparently something everyone can do or we would not be urged to do it "at all times." Whatever you perceive that to be, just do it!
Maybe one of the most important requests we could make of God is that he would teach us to pray. Yes, "Lord teach me how to pray," just may be the most important thing we could ask. If God were to just answer that, I would certainly be on the way to a great relationship with him through prayer. It was what the disciples of Jesus asked him. I believe I will ask him also.
This is what I thought about. What do you think?
Serving the King,