Monday, January 30, 2006

Prayer....

I have rarely found anyone who doesn’t pray. The most unlikely folks that you think aren’t praying - guess what they are doing - they are praying. Like one individual said, when asked why he prays, "You’ve got to."

The problem with prayer is not the "want to." We want to pray! The problem is the "how to." Prayer can be frustrating, for the vast majority of people, the frustration is trying to figure out the right words to say. So, it’s not with the ‘want to,’ but it is about the words. Look at the prayers of Jesus, the best known prayer of Jesus is the Lord’s Prayer. It is a short prayer! Prayer is not about the number of words; prayer is an attitude of the heart. I heard someone say that every time you think about God you pray. Wow! What a powerful opportunity to turn thoughts into prayer, because God hears our hearts. It is not a matter of our words.

“Father” - every time I say that word, I am recognizing I am in the presence of God, I’m in the provision of God and I am in the protection of God. Prayer is the realization that you are in the presence of your Father; you’re in the provision of your Father; you are in the protection of your Father. Prayer is about relationship. Every relationship has risks (sound familiar?).

What about prayer challenges you?

18 comments:

johnniecomelately said...

Let be start and become johnnie come early...

The most common question asked of me, as a believer is... does prayer work?

It's probably true that everyone prays when in need, same as everyone takes medication when sick. But do these prayers/medications work in our personal situations?

How do we pray when it conserns our health, prosperity of heart, relationships, finances, etc.?

We read a scripture like John 15:16 and wonder if it is really true, as it seems that much of what we read in the bible can be interpreted to suit self.

How do we even know what kind of prayer to pray? Different kinds of prayer that come to mind are... the prayer of faith, the prayer of intersession, the prayer of worship, the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of supplication (petition.)

Clearly when we pray, we are to pray the word/bible over our situations. So, even if we figure out what kind of prayer to pray, can we take these prayers to the bank? Prayers over our health... 3 John 2, Matt 9:35, 1 Pet 2:24, Is 53:5 etc., or prayers consening our well being... Deut 28:11 - 13, Ps 34:10, Matt 6:31 etc.

Are we being presumptious when we think that a prayer prayed over our situation will be answered? Do we need to be in the centre of Gods will before our prayer will be answered... if so, then non believers need not apply.

Interested in comments...

a serious SB said...

For me prayer is weird, or maybe its just how i feel about prayer these days...

I find myself constantly seeing God in many places in my life, right down to the daily commute. I dunno if that is considered prayer but i constantly am thinking about the world that God has created.

When it comes time to pray (yes its gotten bad), but when it does come time, if i dont miss that time, i find myself asking for forgiveness and then praying for my worries, which sometimes include many things.

I find though that God doesnt answer my prayers, but then agian he seems to over and over, but i dont ask for the things, or "pray" for them, its seems when i even think about them, they get answered.

The problem i have with prayer is the people who pray and pray and pray about the same things, in the bible it talks about not babbling on in prayer, yet the bible confuses me because it also says to be persistent in prayer. So which one is right, i know a daily asking for forgiveness is good, i dont need to ask a million times. But what do i do when i want something to go a certain way, do i pray persistently or only pray once or twice on the subject.

I find that i only "pray" when i remember too, but it seems that God works in my life regardless on how much or how little i pray, so does it matter that i dont pray as often? These are some of the questions i ponder on a daily basis. Who knows maybe people are praying for me and thats why, or maybe my thoughts are prayers to God, all i know is that God works in ways i have no way of comprehending.

Same as above im interested in Comments as well..

johnniecomelately said...

sb,

We can all relate to how much we still need to learn about prayer. Your described "thoughts" are God bringing some or the things that you are asking/hoping for back to your remembrance. The word says that we are to believe in our hearts, and confess with our mouths... but I agree that it doesn't mean that we need to repeat or beg God for his intervention. I believe that once we have asked, the bible says that God knows the desires of our hearts, and our responsibility is to persist in our desires and not change our mind or become double minded.

sb, a thought that has crossed my mind in times when I am waiting for answers, is that perhaps God has already answered my prayers by not giving into my wishes, but has denied my prayer... because he knows how the final outcome of a bad dicision may affect me.

Lets agree to believe that God's spirit will continue to point things out - both the positive things we do and pray for, and the things we need to change, as we continue to pray for guidance and "his will" to be done in our lives.

Jordan said...

Sb,
You made this comment:
"The problem i have with prayer is the people who pray and pray and pray about the same things, in the bible it talks about not babbling on in prayer, yet the bible confuses me because it also says to be persistent in prayer. So which one is right, i know a daily asking for forgiveness is good, i dont need to ask a million times. But what do i do when i want something to go a certain way, do i pray persistently or only pray once or twice on the subject."

Do you not think that there is a difference between "babbling" on in prayer or being persistiant? I think there is... When you say babbling I think of someone praying just to impress God or the people around them. Senceless stuff that just keeps folwing out of the mouth so one can say "I've prayed 15min. today ladedadeda." (Making yourself look like the BEST Christian) I think being persistant is beliveing and haveing faith that God will intervine in a certian situation. I don't think its wrong praying over and over again for something aslong as you mean it and it is not comeing out as senceless babble.
Those are my thoughts.

SB said...

Depends on how u look at Babbling, i think asking for something 14 times in one prayer is babbling. God knows what u want, why pray it 14 times, prayer doesnt have to be 30 mins for one thing does it? It seems like theres no point, praying hard doesnt mean he will do it any faster or even grant it at all. I cant pray for the Lambo that i want hard, cuz i wouldnt get it, but maybe if i prayed it a million times i might? I dunno that doesnt line up for me.

filletofsoul said...

Why is it that when people discuss prayer it almost always starts to lean (very early in the conversation) to what they are asking God for. Granted that may be one reason for prayer, but it seems to take top priority in most people's minds. What motivates us to pray? Is it just personal needs/wants that get us on our knees? Do we really want God's way for our life or just our own? It would be interesting if our prayers were recorded over the last week, month or year. I bet we would learn a lot about ourselves and our relationship with God if we listened to them over again.
One reason I pray is to just "let it all out". It feels so freeing to be able to discuss all my problems, fears, concerns with God and know he is listening, he can do something about it and none of it will be repeated to anyone else! It also clears my mind when I can be still in his presence. I learned years ago that it is important to continually thank God for his goodness. That one thing has probably enhanced my walk with God the most. Personally, I admit to making requests of God fairly regularly. I'm faithful in asking for my children's safety, for continued health in my family etc. A lot of other times though I'm not necessarily looking for "yes" answers. What I mean is that I just want to make my request so God knows it's a concern (I know he knows anyway!) Then I'm mostly just interested in seeing what he's going to do. I love seeing his answers! Seeing his response is faith building. His timing is amazing! I've also learned he's got a very funny sense of humor! So....Soulpastor, your question was, "what about prayer challenges you?" My challenge in prayer is to be open to what God's requests of me. Although I know he knows what is best, I get kind of nervous. When I look back over my life, the times I have grown the most have often been the times I have been stretched the most.....and it can hurt! Sometimes it is tempting not to open myself up too much to God and stay at this nice "safe" place. I must admitthough, there is a certain thrill about just completely handing myself over to God, but that leap......

new day said...

I see prayer like a relationship with your soulmate or a good friend. You love to be around them, talk to them, it's never a chore or a hassel. (For sb) prayer is defined as raising your mind and heart to God or addressing god in word or thought. (for jcl) how does one know if one is the centre of Gods' will, what are the makers and who said so?
My challange is taking God for granted,like we sometimes do our spouses and our good, faithful, forgiving old friend.

Bill Kinnon said...

Sometimes prayer can be as simple and as powerful as "Father, your will be done."

I have found that in these past months, praying the Lord's Prayer has had a significant impact on my life. And as someone who has spent years in the charismatic pool of evangelical Christianity, I have become attracted to the beauty of liturgical prayer - doing what is known as the Morning Office from the Book of Common Prayer daily with my dear wife as part of my connection to my Lord and Saviour.

I still bring all my cares before my Father. (And yes, I even pray for parking spots in beautiful downtown Toronto - and they seem to coincidently appear - go figure.) I speak to Him as a child to his Dad - for that is what we are to Him. How incredible that the One who flung the stars into space, whose knowledge is a factor of a googol beyond our collective intelligence, stoops down to be in relationship with each of us. How awesome (in the true sense of the word) that He converses with us. That He hears our prayers - and that He answers them - rarely in ways that we expect, but He answers them no less. (I have a friend who said to me recently, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, "Just once, couldn't He do things my way." Fortunately, the answer to that question seems to be "No.")

And now may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, now and forevermore, Amen.

SB said...

Bill, i like your comment about going back to more traditional litergical prayer. I was wondering if anyone still says the Jesus prayer in their prayer life? Keeping on the Traditional aspects of prayer.

Little Worshiper said...

When i think of prayer i imagine people sitting around, falling asleep... and... boredom.
A youth pastor once said that you can share your entire day with God in prayer while you do things! In summer God and I go for a run. We have fun. I hate the borring sit around prayer we do in church. Is that a bad attitude? Am i being heathen?

Harvey the Loveable Henchman said...

Sometimes I find it challenging to keep focused. Especially if I end up praying just before I
go to bed.

"Praise you Father...I can't believe what happened at work today. The papers were flying.
You are great and greatly to be praised. Hallelujah.
Can't believe the dog pooped in the living room again. Speaking of poop I
wonder what Sarah did
about her insurance claim.
Oh yeah...Lord I lift up Joey.
Sigh. Crazy Joey. The ocean. That vacation was great. Should take the wife there again.
What was that spot?
Ooops.
Bless my family and I pray tomorrow will be great. Amen.
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!"

C'mon! We've all been there. Giving God the last scraps of the day.

new day said...

I think our problem is that someone has painted some kind of picture of what prayer should look like. Maybe some need this structured, pattern style to start but I think we've all hit the brick wall and ask ourselves and now what? What new method, what keys will unlock a new dimension etc. You can't take away the fact that while you still breath you will struggle with your flesh, I think jesus knew this and I can't remember where his expectations of us was to forget we are humans trapped in this corruptable body, with this limited mind, on the contrary i hear him say through paul, my grace is sufficient. As far as the lords prayer, my opinion is that we should look at the spirit of the prayer not the systematic format. Everytime we pray we keep in mind the essence of that prayer, his greatness, he's above all, our fragile self, forgiveness and mercy, we need him, etc. the spirit of that prayer.

Peace

Anonymous said...

Soulpastor, you said that "prayer can be frustrating. For the vast majority of people, the frustration is trying to figure out the right words to say". Do you think maybe it's frustrating because we are trying to pray the way people have told us we are supposed to? And if we don't pray "right", then we get frustrated? God said to come to Him like a child... Most little kids I know just blurt out what they are thinking, without worrying that it may not come out right. Sometimes they don't even pronounce it correctly, or their sentences are incomplete. I know Father God is pleased when we just come to Him and be real. Sometimes a prayer can just be, "HELP!", or "I love You", Or "PLEEEEEEZE!" But I think His favorite might be when we just crawl up on His lap and let Him show us how much He loves us. Abba, Father, show us how much You love us, so that we will not be concerned about what to say, how to say it, or what others will think. Please show our spirits how to connect with Yours. Amen.

Jordan said...

Anonymous,
I know your question was directed at Soul Pastor but I must say that I think that it is ture about how we pray like we've been told to pray. I find it so true that we follow certian guidlines in our prayers. For example: we pray for everyone who is sick then we thank God then we do this and so on and so forth. I think we get fusterated when we don't have something to pray for in one of these catagories.

snippyG said...

Oops! I didn't intend to just direct my message to Soulpastor. I think you are right Jordan. And once we are "programmed" to pray a certain way, it's hard to change. Here's an example. The first time I prayed with pentecostalish people, they kept saying "Amen", and other forms of agreement. I kept stopping to let them all have their say... They were interupting me! I grew up where we all folded our hands and kept our eyes and mouths tightly (yet ever so pleasantly) shut. My prayer with the pentecostals took forever, because I was being too polite to interupt the cheering section! It was definitely a new way of praying, and it took quite a while to get used to it. (I'm still working on it, I think!) Too bad we make rules that can hinder people from intimacy with the Father. Good thing God knows our hearts, and honors the prayers of anyone who is seeking Him.

snippyG said...

OH! Another oops! I forgot I was anonymous! Oh well... I don't know why I was anonymous anyway...

SoulPastor said...

I like the format of the thread here. Keep talking and adding in people. I am watching and reading and learning...keep it coming! I just unplugged for the last two days!

Harvey the Loveable Henchman said...

For fun...

"...prayer is an expression of our relationship with God."

"We human beings don't really pray to have our needs met; we have needs in order that we pray. This is how we remind ourselves that God exists; this is how we build a relationship with Him."-Rabbi Irwin Katsof