Is Your Prayer Life Talk or Text?
Talk or text? What is that about? I’ll admit to you that for some reason prayer doesn’t come as easy to me as I wish it would. Frankly speaking, I’m more disciplined in reading the Bible than I am spending significant time in prayer. (I hope you weren’t just counting on me alone with your prayer requests). Communication with our Creator ought to be serious business. At least I think it is to Him. Does it amaze you that He is more available to us than we are to Him? We are busy, busy. All He has to do is keep the universe in suspension and watch over our every thought and action.
Admittedly, text is a convenient means of communication. Just snap off a quick thought, response, question or even a snarky comment and it’s over and out. It may seem “old school,” but for really meaningful communication, don’t you like to see the body language and hear the inflection of the other person’s voice? But text is definitely in in this wham bam world. It’s a great way to avoid people or not get drawn into lengthy conversation. I get that. But when our prayer to God is hurried and pretty much one-way rapid fire, is that the best we can do? Is it reverent or respectful?
Just reading the Psalms and you can take your pick of them, David was thoughtful in what he pleaded for, gave praise for or questioned God about. I think he was in it for the give and take that is part of personal, meaningful prayer. I have found that sometimes God changes my mind after I have talked with Him awhile. Sometimes just hearing oneself in prayer has an effect on our petitions and emotions. God can change us through prayer.
I too often get distracted when I am praying. Do you? Jesus says in Matt. 6:6 “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” That’s not a legalistic demand, but a practical suggestion. Find a quiet place and get quiet, a place where you will be undisturbed. That often requires a hunt if there are people in the house or finding a time when others can’t interrupt and disturb your peace. In Luke 5:16 we are told Jesus “would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
In Matt. 6:9 Jesus prays “Our father in heaven, hallowed is your name.” I have to remind myself sometimes I am seeking communion with my Lord, my Father in heaven, and the One who is holy, pure, perfect and sovereign. He is affording me His undivided attention and I break in my attention due to a thought involving the day’s agenda, a dog barking, thinking I need more coffee or dozens of other things that can take me off track and rudely take my attention away from this sacred time with God. I only wish that were not so.
Prayer was important to Jesus so I suppose it should be for you and me. I’d go as far to say it was essential. Though He was God in the flesh, He often still sought time apart from life and ministry to commune with his Father, to worship, appeal and to be recharged. Good idea for all of us. Don’t ya think?
Jesus tells us in Luke 18 to “pray and not lose heart.” That’s a challenge, isn’t it? We know what we want and we usually want it now if not sooner, particularly if there is pain and suffering involved. It is easy in those times to forget we have a good, good Father who sees everything in the long run and is always working for the best of his kingdom as well as our ultimate good. The waiting and the “whys” can be a real test to our faith in and trust in God’s goodness and concern for us. Lest you feel guilty about your impatience or trembling knees, I believe God understands that it is difficult for us to keep our faith tanks full.
I know in the past I have suggested you read John 17 where we observe Jesus pouring out his heart in prayer for you and me. I suggest it again. “I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” Jesus continually intercedes for us by His Spirit as we see in Romans 8:26-27. Take comfort in that. If you resonate in any way with the challenges we encounter in prayer, let’s make this week a start for this New Year and make effort to improve the environment in which we pray and the quality of our prayer to God. Less text, more talk. Think About It.