Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pray Earnestly.

Prayer has been on the mind a lot lately. Not just my mind either... I feel like I've had different variations of the same conversation with people over the last few weeks. Why do we pray? So many people have so many different answers to that question, and so many people have so many more questions. Some people say, "What's the point? God's going to do whatever his will is--why should I ask for anything different? It makes for false hope." Some people pray at meals and before bed, some only pray when life gets hard... some pray only when they feel hopeless. Some have given up on prayer. Too many people have given up on prayer. We talk about this God that we love, the creator of the universe that wants to have a relationship with us, but how much time do we really spend daily in conversation with him? Sometimes I talk to God when I'm driving, or when I'm walking around campus. Lately I've really felt challenged to pray differently--to pray earnestly. I think often we "commit" to pray for something or someone and eventually it fades because we don't think we're "seeing results." It sounds silly when you put it that way--seeing results--as if prayer is some get rich quick scheme or work-out plan. But that's the nature of people today. We don't wait patiently for the Lord to work. One thing doesn't satisfy us quick enough so we move on to the next thing. But it's biblical! To pray earnestly and wait patiently. Why don't we take it seriously?

Psalm 40:1 ... "I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry."
Romans 12:12 ... "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
1 Thes. 5:16-18 ... "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Matthew 21:22 ... "And whatever you ask in prayer you will receive, if you have faith."
Acts 1:14 ... "All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer..."

I would encourage you to look up the context of each of those verses. The Lord has really been teaching me to pray differently lately.

Funny enough, I kind of had a revelation about prayer while watching "A Christmas Story" not too long ago. Prayer is one of our means of communication between us and our God. For me, prayer and worship are the two biggest ways that I feel like I connect with God. So, in the spirit of Christmas, think about this: if your parents didn't give you everything you wanted for Christmas, would you stop talking to them? Of course not! That's absurd. So why do we do that to God? We pray for a while and when we don't feel like it's working, we stop. Why don't we trust that the God of the universe knows best? We get frustrated and we cut off this sacred, beautiful communication called prayer. We need to realize that maybe He is doing what He is doing because if he gave us what we wanted right now, we might "shoot our eye out."

I'm learning to pray earnestly. To devote myself to prayer, and trust that God will do the rest. It's been a cool learning experience. Praise Jesus!

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