Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Say a prayer for me

One of the most frequent lies out of the mouths of Christians is, "I'll pray for you."

Not intentionally, perhaps, but the gap between the promise and its fulfilment is usually enough to cause forgetfulness, laziness, and soon it becomes the unfulfilled promise. Why is that?

I suspect that much of it comes from a pietistic and religious picture of prayer - that we must go aside in private and beseech God and bring these requests before him again and again, and wrestle in prayer until he answers.

But is that really what we believe about prayer? Are we not rather taught to come to God as our heavenly Father, and thus as beloved children? Does not Jesus teach us that long-winded prayers do not avail us more than the short and direct?

No amount of prayer, type of prayer, frequency of prayer, will bring the answer we desire, but so often we make prayer a serious, grave, long-term laborious task that we can't even face the thought of it, and our prayers remain unprayed.

For many years I struggled with myself - knowing that I should promise to pray for people, but that I had a strong tendency to fail to follow through. I now follow this resolution: to pray immediately and directly about whatever is at hand. If I say I will pray for someone, I will usually pray with them, or if not, I will walk away from that meeting and pray shortly thereafter in private. I speak to God with the frankness of a child and their imaginary friend. And I do not worry about wrestling for years with God on a single prayer - I know that I will only do that if my prayer remains a burning issue within my heart, and so instead I pray that I will be restless in the heart first, and that those prayers will come forth from my deepest regenerate desires.

Something to pray about.

1 comment:

lachlanb said...

love this advice. I'm going to do it.