Weekly Sabbath Survey
Prayer — 10-17-2015
Prayer is a subject I have unintentionally avoided. This quote above convicted me of my neglect of a very important part of the Believer’s life. I thought: 1) So many others wiser and more spiritually astute have written and preached volumes on prayer; and 2) What I want to say may be out of the mainstream of accepted thought. My prayer life is as unconventional as other aspects of my spiritual life.
First, defining prayer: It’s not all that complicated. It is just talking to God. There are too many formulas and little black leather books telling us what to say in prayer. Jesus spoke of useless, repetitious prayers; and out loud prayers said to impress everybody but God. Written or memorized prayers or all of us praying in unison, mostly don’t leave me feeling “prayed up.” What Protestants call “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Our Father” for Catholics, is really OUR prayer. It is an exception when I am praying this prayer with others, if I can keep my mind on the meaning of the words. It must come from my heart, not just my mouth. Prayer is just conversation with God. We talk, and then we listen. When we say “Amen” and jump up to get on with daily life, we rudely ignore any response He might make. Once the idea of praying and expecting an answer maybe right THEN, was foreign to me. I thought we just prayed and stumbled along with our problems, hoping that God might help out somehow.
I think He never tires of hearing our complaints and problems, but once in a while, it might be nice if somebody somewhere THANKED HIM for something. And not just at Thanksgiving! Our gratitude is important. It makes the Lord happy for us to say we are thankful. Many times, I start my prayer with,Thank you, Lord for— the beautiful day, the rain, the sunshine, the place I call home (Hens Acre Farm), my family, my little dogs, the chickens, the eggs, the clock business. People who are not grateful are always bordering on unhappy. They have little Attitude of Gratitude. As with other spiritual exercises, if we stop being grateful the peace of prayers goes away. I get to feeling blue, seeing all the things around that I don’t like. I may complain to others. But at some point, hopefully sooner than later, I realize I’m not expressing my thanks to the Lord the way I should be. A grateful heart is cultivated like a garden: watered daily by Holy Spirit, fertilized by God’s Word often, and (in prayer) weeded by Jesus of un-Godly plans or attitudes.
My friends and family pass prayer requests to me all the time. Many good people are struggling in life. My prayer for them is usually pretty simple. “God have mercy on him/her” or “May Your will be done in them or their situation like it is in the heavens.” I try to avoid telling God exactly how to do His job! ask for His grace, His blessing, His favor, for myself and others. How and when He does it is mostly beyond what I feel I can do. I have no set time to pray, no special place to pray. I try to be led by the Lord in prayer as in other aspects of my faith walk. I talk to Him throughout my day. I greet Him early in the morning and give thanks. At night I pray myself to sleep, calling names of people before Him. Some are on my heart often—my family, my children and grandchildren, my spiritual children, my near firends. Others the Lord brings to mind. In particular are a number of women who are struggling with those ‘initial’ diseases: ALS, MS, RA, FM, CFS, IBS, and of course, CANCER. I call each name, ask the Lord to strengthen and hold them by His power. I know He wants to do that, so it’s a good prayer.
Flowery, poetic prayers read or recited from memory can be very moving if the person praying is really engaged in what he/she is saying or singing. But there are really powerful prayers sent up by ones who don’t even know how to pray. I know a man who was saved at a revival as a teenager. A friend asked him later what he thought of the beautiful song at the closing. He said, “Man! I wasn’t listening to the singing. I was too busy down on the floor cryin’ and gettin’ saved!” No one prayed the sinner’s prayer with him. No one told him what to say to God. But he was saved mightily. He went on to grow in the Lord. He formed and traveled with a Christian band. Eventually he was an evangelist to youth. He preached the Gospel at rallies in churches and taught at summer camps. All because of a desperate, ineloquent prayer he described to me as “Sobbing and saying very loud, “GOD!!!!!!!’.” What a great prayer!
When you pray go alone into a quiet place and shut the door; pray to the Father in secret and the Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:6 (paraphrased)
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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