Once again, I’m going to reference Paul E. Miller’s book A PRAYING LIFE. I’ve been involved in a study of this book since September. Much of what I’m writing here, espcially if it is concise, is not my own. It is a mix so if it doesn’t sound right, it is probably my idea…don’t blame it on Paul. This is my disclaimer for today!
For those of you who have been Christians for any length of time, you know that reams of paper have been written on the topic of prayer. I don’t begin to consider myself to be an expert on the topic either. But, I do consider it to be an important topic to include in this 31 day series. So we I will only begin to touch lightly on it…very, very lightly! Much of what I write today will be more from the perspective given in this book.
What is prayer?
Prayer is simply talking to GOD. The emphasis in this book is on becoming like a child who is talking to his Father in prayer. For a short discussion on prayer, I think this picture is probably the most helpful. It embodies many important aspects of prayer including:
- our need
- our inadequacy to meet our need
- the simplicity of prayer
- the development of hope
- bringing my mess to GOD as it is
- being real with GOD and not praying in a formula
- believing like a child
- playing in GOD’s presence…learning to dream
- being helpless and desperate
Yes, I know some of these overlap. But I’m trying to give you a taste for some of what is brought out for us to think about. So much of what is mentioned…being helpless, bringing my messiness to GOD, being real, is not easy for me. I have been so performance oriented in the past that it is not easy for me to be honest with GOD…even when I know He already knows all about the mess!
Doing exercises in our small group has been helpful…as well as just learning to pray, “Lord, have mercy on me!” Sometimes, that is all I can think of when overwhelmed with my sinfulness! It can be very disheartening! I feel I should be making more progress than I am.
Becoming like a child? Just ask…
When I have a need, I simply need to ask, just like a child would do…and with the persistance of a child as well! I don’t often do that, do I? My tendency is to strategize and figure out how I will be able to make it happen. I don’t just stop and ask GOD.
I don’t usually feel needy enough for His intervention. How sad is that? It reminds me of many of my grandchildren when they were about 2 or 3 and their common statements were “I do it.” That’s what I’m like…I just don’t realize it.
What I need all along is His intervention. In every situation, at all times, in every place...GOD intervene in my life! Please!
I’m finding I need to open my eyes and wake up to my need and the needs around me. I need to be more aware of how much I need His intervention in every area of my life…particularly the mundane!
Join me on this journey…of growing up…and becoming like a child!
So I’m on a journey, as part of growing up, to become like a child in my relationship to GOD. I must put aside my cynicism, my independence, my desire to be self-sufficient, my desire to be in control of my life. I must ask for what I need, for what I want. I need to stop editing my prayers through the lens of a pharisee who wants to do things “right.” I need a contrite heart. I need to just talk to Jesus and keep it simple in prayer.
Then I need to listen to Him when He responds…through His Word, through other believers, and through inner promptings.
Make time regularly to pray. If your regular time can only be 5 minutes, then make it 5 minutes regularly. It will be a regular appointment with GOD as you visit in prayer. Instead of simply having a long list of requests, dare to to dream with GOD about your life and how you fit into His plans. Come to Him as a needy child, not someone who is sophisticated and has their life all together.
As time goes by, that time will become valuable to you and it will grow. Use it as a time to talk to Him as a child about your needs, your wants, your dreams…and how you want to see Him change the world! Out of this relationship will grow your knowledge and trust of Him.