July 9th, 2019
Prayer isn’t a special event. Prayer is not a routine. Prayer isn’t a practice we have to adhere to. There are almost as many motivations, and approaches to prayer as there are those who pray. Some of us recoil from public prayer. Other, rather enjoy it. Some bother God with every little thing, and others seem to restrict prayer to only the essentials.
Prayer is perhaps the single most misunderstood and underutilized resource we have. If most of us are honest with ourselves we have some room for improvement in our prayer lives.
When you talk with people about prayer, you have a broad variety of perspectives related to the topic. Most will eventually confess that there is room for improvement in their prayer life. Some may know exactly what to do about it, while it baffles others about how to correct the deficiency.
We seem to either obsess or don’t care enough to even give it a second thought. Ideally the optimum approach is somewhere in between these two extremes.
One of my favorite passages is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18…
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (NKJV)
The 17th verse is simple, “pray without ceasing”. While this might sound excessive or even an impossibility; the reality is, we can and should be constantly in a state of prayer.
The raised eyebrow issue with this concept is that we often don’t even realize what is involved in being in constant prayer.
How often do you sit in a room with someone you know and not bother to say a word? Isn’t it more common for you to carry on a conversation? Most of the time, it doesn’t matter what you talk about; it is much more important if for nothing other than maintaining congeniality, to talk about whatever is on your mind.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ this concept of ‘praying constantly’ is all about this social grace.
We have the Holy Spirit (God) living in us! Therefore, we are in close quarters with God, how convenient it is, the person of the Trinity that lives in us is the Holy Spirit. He is our intercessor with the other persons of the Trinity. He even expresses that which we are unable to express.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
We have an inability to understand what and how to pray, so the Holy Spirit monitors the condition of our hearts and translates that to God in such a way that it is as sweet as the most fragrant flower.
Many years I struggled with prayer and especially prayer in public such as in a Sunday School class or bible study. What a relief it was for me when I came to understand that what God hears is nothing like the yammering that came out of my mouth. It was my heart song that was translated and presented to God, not my stumbling speech.
So, whatever I would choose to share with God, who lives with us every moment, is processed by the Holy Spirit to God’s heart based on my heart’s desire to share with him.
And since we are in constant contact with the Holy Spirit, it would be rude not to carry on a conversation with him. We have absolutely no reason not to have that conversation with God, except, a deficiency in ourselves.
I don’t mean that to sound gruff. It’s a matter of fact. God lives in us, he wants to share with us, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken up residence in us. He has a purpose living in us, and the chief of those purposes is to keep the channel of communications going between us and the heavenly throne room.
If we don’t take advantage of this opportunity to share in conversation with God through this conduit, there is only one person to blame; us!
Now there really are only two possibilities why we wouldn’t take advantage of this:
- We don’t care
- We don’t realize
We don’t care
If you are a follower of Jesus, then I don’t believe this to be the case. The vast majority of Christians desire to have a closer walk with the Lord and if they are aware of something that enhances their relationship with the Creator, they are going to take advantage of it.
Because of this, I can’t imagine any disciple of Jesus not wanting to learn more, fellowship closer, be more engaged; to use the most powerful tool in our arsenal and talk to their heavenly Father.
We don’t realize
It would be my best guess; the bulk of believers fall into this category.
It isn’t that we don’t care, we don’t understand what God’s provided for us, and the depth of his desire to communicate with us on a constant and daily basis.
We know that the Spirit lives in us and we know what the Spirit does. The typical disconnect is we don’t put all of this together sufficiently to realize what we have at our disposal and therefore go about living our lives for Jesus doing the best we can with what we believe to be all we have.
There is a reason God’s Word tells us not to rely on our own understanding. He has architected not just us, but everything around us and everything that we interact with to perform at a level way beyond our ability to comprehend.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
The mistake we make regarding prayer, is that we assess the directive to “pray without ceasing” from the human perspective that this would disrupt or be disrupted, by everything else in our lives that is required to live, work, and interact with others.
What God has done by putting his Spirit in us is that he has enabled us to be able to do everything we need to do, everything we should do, and everything we ought to do; without missing the dialog God wants us to have with him. The conversation we want to have with him.
We can and should be in constant “Prayer!” God’s made a way; we just need to use the resources he’s put in us; his Holy Spirit!
In the Grace of Jesus!