For most Christians, the subject of prayer is guaranteed to generate a number of emotions. Some have deep and wonderful memories of time spent in the presence of God. Others find that prayer has sustained them through times of wilderness wandering even when feeling far from the presence of the Lord.
And for many, prayer evokes feelings of guilt. “I know I should pray more.” “I have a friend who prays and seems to always know just the right words.” Some of us struggle to find time; others to find time alone. And some have just given it up all together and have left their prayer life in discouragement.
The secret to success as a believer and follower of Christ rises or falls on prayer. If we will not pray, if we do not pray regularly, if our “backstage” life is a shambles, then the life people see before them will suffer. Prayer, however, is just like many other life skills. We learn how to talk by listening… and imitating those who pray. Our granddaughter lights up and mimics sounds when her Mamaw gets close and begins to talk to her. She’s learning how to speak, even though she does so by imitation.
We don’t learn how to play piano reading books about it. We listen, and then we sit at the keyboard and begin to practice. We don’t learn how to fish by reading a book or going to a seminar. We can’t sharpen our knowledge about fishing that way, but learning how involves holding a line and hook and rod and reel in the water. You didn’t learn how to ride a bike watching a video.
Likewise, if you’re a person who has said, “I don’t know how to pray,” this blog will not teach you how. You must simply pray. It is, first, a discipline we commit ourselves to. Daniel’s prayer in Chapter 9 of his prophetic and inspired work, was a monument to a man who had “purposed in his heart” to pray regardless of circumstance or consequence. He prayed three times a day… morning, noon and night.
Prayer is a discipline… just do it. It requires some model to follow. Find someone in your world you would like to pray like and study their prayer life. And don’t be surprised if you discover that someone may be learning from you!
There is not a “scorecard” for prayer. God simply wants to hear from you, His beloved child. You don’t come as a beggar. You come as family. You come as you are.
And you leave transformed forever!
FOR MEDITATION: The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16
FOR REFLECTION: What is the first step you can take today to enter into a consistent prayer life? What must you say no to in your life so that you can say yes to this important discipline?