“Jesus intends to create a praying people. His demand is clear, and the issue is so important that he tells us why, how, for whom and what we are to pray.” John Piper from his book What Jesus Demands of the World.
Prayer. Do you do it? Do I do it? Do we do it earnestly? With perseverance and conviction? Do we rattle off the same 4 sentences before a meal? Do we find time to plead? Do we make time to ask? Do we ever just give thanks? If you’re a christian I’m sure you do. In some form. And this post is not meant to cast any sort of judgement on your prayer life. It’s more a testament to my lack of prayer in the past and just how cool I’ve learned that it is.
We live in a generation of busy. Of things to do, emails to answer, twitter to update, more entertainment options than we’ve ever had in generations past and yet I’m not sure we are any more satisfied. (If you listen to Matt Chandler you know I’ve ripped that thought off from him but I stand behind it 100%) It feels sometimes like we busy ourselves to death. Whether its just keeping up with the happenings on facebook or partaking in every church event possible we are a people who’s answer to the question, “How’s it goin?'” is 98% of the time, “Busy!”
So how on earth in this land of constant go-go-go are we suppose to find time for quiet? For prayer? Time to come before our heavenly father with actual time and attention? And why bother, really?
Here’s the thing, prayer is seriously so freakin’ awesome. (is that okay to say?) If you’re a pray-er you’ll already know this and want to jump up and down and shout things like, “I know! It’s true!” And chances are you’ll have tales to tell of really really cool stuff and it makes you excited and passionate and all the busy in the world couldn’t keep you from it cause you know that your soul needs it. You’ll get that it’s what you were made for. To be a part of something bigger than yourself. Bigger than your family. Bigger than you’re humanly capable of!
How do I know I’m suppose to pray? Or that God actually hears/cares/answers? First off because I believe the bible and he says so in it. Clearly, I might add.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1
Pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. Matt.6:6
Pray then like this: Our father in heaven…. Matt. 6:9
Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
There’s more. That’s just a taster. But it gives a little example of just how many times we’re told to do this thing called prayer. It should be obvious. We should just know this. And I think we do. My bigger question is, are we listening to the demand?
The second way I know that He hears/cares/answers is because 3 times in the past month He has shown up! Like, in serious ways that I can’t help but shake my head and go, “Man, that is cool!”
1) Leading and Generosity – the first time was when I was praying that God would really tangibly show me how I could give. I know that there are needs at places like the Food Bank and Salvation Army so I was praying through whether this is how I should spend my time or if there was another way. Some way close to me, in my day-to-day, that I needed to be generous. BAM! Opportunity walked right my way and upon discussion with my husband and more prayer it was deemed that YES! This was God using us to help others. So we did. We have never for a second doubted that it was what we were suppose to do and not because we are rolling in cash or have oodles of time but because we prayed for a way to help the body of Christ, a need came directly before us, it was a need we could fill and boom! God gets all the glory! He orchestrated all of it. The prayers of our heart, the timing, everything! And it was completely exciting for us to watch it all play out.
2) There was someone I wanted to have a conversation with. I wasn’t sure if my wanting was motivated by a heart of selfishness or compassion. So I prayed. God what would you have me do? Should I go to this person? Should I make a coffee-date? Should I just go straight there? What should I do? What do you want me to do? Maybe I should just leave it alone…
I was in the midst of praying this when the person I was praying about contacted me! Like, right then! And I knew that this was God! He placed the person right within conversations grasp. No more wondering or questioning but an obvious answer. It was like God said, “Here they are! You prayed. I answered! No more questions. No more decisions on your own. I am placing them right here before you!” And I knew. I knew that there was a conversation that needed to happen. And the glory goes to God! He did it. Timed it. Worked out all the details of my heart being ready, the person being before me, and time for it to all take place. How exciting!!
3) A friend had brought a crisis to me and was needing to talk it through. I listened and gave suggestions where I could but didn’t have a lot to offer other than that I would pray for her. So prayed for her I did! Like actually prayed! Now maybe this is just my downfall and I have repented for it, asked forgiveness and am working on it like crazy, but sometimes when I would say, “I’ll pray for you.” to someone – well….I wouldn’t. I would forget. And while I really meant that I wanted to pray for them I lacked the follow through. So I have committed in my heart that I will no longer say these words without actually doing it! I mean really, how lame to be a missionary out in the world thinking people are praying for you but nobody actually following through on it. Sucky, right? So I prayed for my friend and I felt God prompting for me to just write her a note. A simple note of encouragement in her journey. It didn’t take more than 15 minutes of my time. I didn’t know how it would be received. The note was an encouragement but also a challenge. These sorts of things can end well but also not so much. I prayed and I wrote and I offered no advice other than scripture. Guess what? She cried. Good tears. The kind through which she said, “I had been praying about what I should do and I told God I needed a sign and this note? It is my sign. I know what I need to do!” Thank-you, Jesus! Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you!!
I tell you these things not to boast. I hope you don’t hear that in these words. I tell you these things to encourage you and to share with you the super-awesome-excitingness that there is in following Christ. In obeying His commands. In listening to His promptings. In being faithful. In prayer. It puts us in the game! It allows us to be a part of what God is doing here and I believe it is not so much for Him but for us! To bring us joy and excitement and pull us out of boredom and monotony and busyness of life and to put us in a place where we get to play with Him! To see what He’s doing here! That He uses us to be a part of that is seriously the best thing ever! I mean really! Look how many exclamation points it has caused me to use!!!
If you’re still reading this – you’re a trooper! Thank – you. Sometimes my fingers just go and they don’t stop until I’ve got it all out! And when it’s something that makes me this excited, passionate, full of life and energy and just plain joy? Well – I want you to know it and have it too!
Go pray! I dare you…