Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pray Differently

Pray Differently
April 20, 2015
1 Thessalonians 5:17  "Pray without ceasing."

The Bible says we should pray without ceasing.  Effectively, that means pray all the time, about everything, anywhere, regardless of circumstance or situation.  It's pretty easy to interpret that instruction from the Bible.  It is a constant communion with the Lord about whatever is on your heart at the time.  If it is joy, then express it through a thankful prayer to Him.  If it is a heavy heart, then express it through an emotional cry to Him.  If it is an earnest request, then express it through fervency and sincerity.  Whatever the thought or idea, bring it to the Lord.  But what if you already do all of this on a constant basis?  I would suggest it is impossible to be perfect in your prayer thought-life.  I would suggest it is impossible to be as consistent as the Lord would desire.

I find myself getting bored with my prayers when I do them each and everyday, consequently easy to abandon.  I have the same heart and therefore the same prayer.  It becomes a prayer by memory, even though my heart originally formed the prayer.  It becomes liturgical and almost meaningless lip-service despite being a completely valid prayer.  This most recent week, I tried my prayers differently.  I wrote them down.  No, I didn't write down what my prayer requests were, I wrote down exactly how and what I prayed.  I kept a journal of my prayers as if they were heard by a third party in conversation style.  As the words came off my lips, I was a court reporter ready to read them back in testimony.  I finished my prayers, then did just that.  I didn't read them to the Lord, I read them back to myself.  I was ashamed to learn what my prayers said about myself.

They revealed to me the selfishness of my heart and the pettiness of my life.  I would be embarrassed if you were to read them aloud in public today.  They were full of wants, preferences, and laziness.  They revealed something about myself I thought could never be true, that my own world was more important to me than His world around me.  They revealed that the Lord's desires and heart took a backseat to my requests.  I wasn't seeking what the Lord wanted in each and every thing, I was seeking what I wanted in each and every thing.  In fact, as I evaluated them, the things I thought so important to utter in prayer had no eternal value.  The immediacy of my prayer requests were void of true worth.

The exercise demonstrated how I could change my thoughts about circumstances as I brought them to prayer.  It allowed me, and will allow you, to pray about the same thing, but in a manner worthy of a spiritual outcome.  Instead of praying that the Lord would pay the bill you are worrying about, ask Him to teach you how to trust in Him and work the situation out in a manner that would bring Him glory.  Instead of praying that the Lord would give your children good friends, ask the Lord to fill them with the knowledge and power of Him and that the Holy Spirit would flow through them as they shine the light of Him to their peers.  All prayer requests are valid, yet some will reflect the Father's heart better than others.  Evaluate your constant prayers and rework them to align with the Father's heart.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matt 6:5-15, Matt 6:33, James 4:3

No comments: