One More Thought on Prayer

Back to last Friday’s blog. Or should I say, back to the aforementioned Tuesday when God spoke so loudly to me.

I record this question in my journal:  I am not praying enough, am I Father?

You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather.  His response was not necessary.  The silence was vociferous.  I knew the answer.  I was not nor had I been prayerful enough for a long, long time.

And what was the number one culprit to my prayerlessness?

Ouch.  Here I go.  I am hitting the transparency button.

Of the things I loved in the world, one of the biggest loves was my television combined with the surround sound system that dominated a corner of my “man room”.

  • Too much ESPN?  Guilty.  So, I repented.
  • Too much FOX NEWS?  Blameworthy.  So, I relented.
  • Too much HISTORY CHANNEL?  Culpable.  So, I apologized.
  • Too much HGTV?  Liable.  So, I surrendered.
  • Not enough time for prayer?  Convicted.  So, I said I was sorry.

Question: how much is prayer is enough prayer?

Short answer: more than I pray now!

Long answer: true prayer begins when what matters most to us is what matters most to God.

When we pray, we typically pray about stuff that matters to us.  Don’t get me wrong.  What matters to us, matters to God.  Yet can’t we agree, not everything that matters to us matters?  I am dead serious.  Not everything is worthy of prayer.

I know we are commanded to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6), but not everything is necessarily needful of prayer. I understand if someone disagrees.  All I am saying is that we can get caught up in a lot of stuff that does not count in the big picture.

There are some things I pray about, that afterwards humor me.  Do any of you ever do that?  Do you ever laugh about what you pray about?  That is not to say these things are unimportant.  It is just that not everything that I want to pray about is worth praying about.

So, what is the solution?  How do we conqueror the concern of not enough prayer?

I am so glad you asked.

This is what I am working on.

1.  I am asking God the Father to teach me how to pray. 

Luke records:

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

Luke 14:1

Be honest.  Do we really know how to pray?  Do we know all there is to prayer?  Do we ever think we master the art and science of prayer?

2.  I pray until I have nothing else to say and then I listen for what God has to say.

It is okay to pray about anything and everything.  What matters to us, truly matters to God.  Surely not everything matters, however.  Try mentioning every need you can think of, and then wait to see what God does next.  I think God likes it when we are speechless before Him.

Do you remember what Romans 8:26 says?

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Now that is some kind of prayer partner!

3.  I practice praying during my day. 

When someone’s name or face crosses your mind, learn to for them at that moment.  When someone asks you to pray for them, stop and pray at that moment, not later.

How many of you love this little kernel of truth?

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Now that’s a three point creed to embracing life.

There is so much more I could write.  I will stop here so as not to belabor the three remaining lessons.  By the way, have you been reading any good books lately?  Tomorrow, we tackle the question of do I read enough?  Until then, read on.


4 Responses to “One More Thought on Prayer”

  1. 1 Searching
    March 31, 2008 at 8:16 am

    … but shouldn’t every moment of our lives be filled with prayer? I have a question, should we not invite God into every second of our lives through prayer? I talk to him continuously. I listen constantly for his guidance and leadership. Doesn’t Paul admonish us to pray constantly “in the spirit”? If we believe that Jesus lives within us and that Holy Spirit is our teacher and connection to the Father, should Holy Spirit not become the filter through which everything enters and exists our mind, heart and body? I respect that you find television as a distraction, however I find spiritual lessons galore in places many would find hard to imagine. I believe that we find God where we look for him. I believe God is where we invite him and ask him to be. Shouldn’t prayer be an ongoing conversation with God? I think we find ourselves in the flow of the Spirit when we allow him into every part of who we are and what we do. He knows us but sometimes we act as though we can hide certain things from him … we can’t. Isn’t that why people often act a certain way at church and differently at work?
    I heard this story recently; The was a man on his way to work one day and he was approaching a traffic light when it turned yellow and he stopped looking to his rear view mirror to check traffic behind him. He saw in the mirror a woman behind him who he had notice fixing her makeup and talking on a cell phone. When they stopped she began shouting at him and gesturing rudely in his direction. As the light changed he pulled away noticing a police officer walking up to her window. The police officer tapped on her window and asked her to exit the car. He placed her under arreast and carried her to the police station and booked her. Upon her release shortly thereafter she asked why the officer had arrested her. The officer told her that he noticed a bumper sticker on her car that read “In case of rapture, this car will be un-maned.” and ” Follow me to Sunday School!”. The officer also noticed a silver fish symbol representing Christianity on the back of her car. The officer believed she must have stolen the car upon watching her at the traffic light and consequently arrested her.
    Interestingly, I don’t have any indication on my car that I am a Christian, I want it seen in my behavior. God is with me all the time, and it’s my responsibility to include him in EVERYTHING I think, do, say and feel. If we are to truly give the glory to God, shouldn’t he be a part of everything?

  2. 2 Ron
    March 31, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I’m coming to the conclusion that we pray about what is important to us. And nothing is important until it’s personal. I’m also coming to the conclusion that when God is a personal matter to us, we will pray… more… enough. The last realization I’m coming to regarding prayer is that until I seek God and nothing else as I pray… my prayers aren’t what I’d like them to be nor are they what God desires for my prayes to be.

    Thanks for challenging me in prayer.

  3. April 2, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Searching, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is one of those passages I continue to return to in my walk with Christ. imagine the life we would live in Christ if we were graded on how well we rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances.

    By the way, great story about the police officer.

  4. April 2, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Ron, thank you for your contribution to my entries. For those of you who do not know, Ron has a blog. You can read his daily insights at http://www.wabcmsal.org/pastorblog/. His blog is a part of my daily reading.

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