When you think of prayer what comes to mind? Growth in knowing who God is. . . or quiet times of presenting wish lists before God? Pastor Chris shares an excellent devotion on prayer (and don’t miss the video!)
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
When you pray, how do you pray? Is the God of the universe your slot machine? Do you put in a token of prayer, pull the handle, and wait while the stars of the heavens spin, hoping that they align “just so” in your favor?
In prayer, are we merely hoping for our circumstances to become more favorable or are we asking God to alter us through them? When it comes to prayer, that question needs to be asked. In fact, apart from whether you pray–the question as to how you understand prayer–is the most important question about prayer that could ever be asked.
Is prayer changing you or is prayer just a shopping list in the mall of heaven? Is your prayer life a utilitarian exercise? Do you do it in the same fashion you do so many other chores and necessary tasks? Is prayer essentially about doing or accomplishing something?
In his landmark book Prayer George Buttrick put it this way. . . .
“Then what can prayer do? That is a false way of stating a question. It might be better to ask, ‘What can we do for prayer?’ For prayer is ultimately a friendship: only base people cultivate a friendship in order to ‘use” it.'”
Are we guilty of using God? When rightly considered, prayer is neither a chore nor a means of simply accessing the Father’s wealth. Only a despicable son or daughter prefers the inheritance over the love of a loving father. Prayer isn’t a means of gaining an early inheritance.
It is the way that we draw close to God in conversation, communion, and closeness. When we cultivate an active prayer life, devoting regular time every day to conversing with our Heavenly Father we get to know Him. We learn how to discern His presence and voice. Prayer is conversation with our Abba, Daddy.
Prayer is a means of communion with God. There is no other more direct way to interact with God that through prayer. We talk to Him and listen for His voice speaking in the stillness directly to our soul. We learn what it means to commune with the divine as our souls become entangled with His. Prayer is the means by which we develop closeness with God. Prayer isn’t he means to getting ahold of the power of God. A growing prayer life is the consequence of falling in love with the lover of our souls.
The heartbeat of prayer is right at the begging of the Lord’s Prayer. “Thy will be done.” Friend, prayer is a means of escaping the confines of our broken flesh, reaching up to God in Heaven, realizing His presence right at the center of our hearts, and crying out “In my brokenness, Abba, thy will be done in my life as perfectly as it is in Heaven. Have Your way.”
Prayer: Mighty God, strong to save, draw me ever closer to You. Lord, teach me to depend upon You in my trial, to all upon You, the lover of my soul, the savior of my life. You alone are worthy and I cast my broken life into the everlasting arms of Your love and grace. Have Your way in me. Amen.
About the author:
Chris Surber is the Pastor at Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk, Virginia. He is a religion columnist for the Suffolk News Herald and a contributor to various Christian publications. You can his website at http://www.chrissurber.com
Do you pray like a lover someone clinging to the one to whom you pray or are you more like an acquaintance asking for a favor? Is prayer changing you or is it just a slot machine exercise; putting in a token of words in the hope of receiving something of value?
Pastor Chris thought you would enjoy this video about prayer and how God chooses to lead His people. I loved this video and I hope it touches you too–and changes your perspective on prayer today. It is convicting! -Lisa