I had a conversation recently with a friend about prayer. It went something like this:
"why didn't I see your name on the prayer list from the church this week?"
"I didn't send it"
"Why wouldn't you want the church to pray for your family?"
"The people in the church are aware of whats going on. They should already be praying."
I've been thinking about this conversation for weeks. I have had another conversation about prayer with someone else, and it got me to thinking. When I pray, is my prayer real?
Of course it is real, when I pray I am not imagining it. But am I really intently praying? Is my prayer filled with fervor, heartache, soul? Am I praying because I said I would, or because It is expected of me, or because I feel obligated?
A couple years ago , I was taking communion after an amazingly perfect worship service in our church. When I started praying, I felt a hand in my lap, handing me a tissue. It was then that I discovered God had provided me with tears when I pray. I pray so hard it hurts. I pray so long it gets dark, and I am not even aware of it. I pray for things I am not supposed to know about, I pray for things that are public knowledge. I pray when I am working, standing, sitting, sometimes sleeping. When I feel so motivated and so connected and so full of the Holy Spirit, I pray harder and with more passion - and I my prayers get answered.
When I pray , it is with intent. It is with meaning. It is for a reason. I pray because when I talk to God He answers me every single time. It may not be the answer I hope for- in all my human wisdom- but I do get an answer. When I pray I have a sense of peace washing over me like nothing else.
I know there are people who have hang ups about our church email prayer list, our published list and our prayer requests during the morning service. I have the same hang ups. I think we should be praying for the sick and the wounded. But I think prayer is so much more than that.
It is about talking to the God of the entire universe.
Its about a job interview, and peace in the midst of a conflict. Its about the children's education and the constant flow of virtual strangers they meet everyday. Its about the good things in life- gardens, and friends and sunshine and moonbeams. Prayer is about meditation for the soul and comfort for the heart. Its about washing away anxiety and fear and replacing them with hope faith and love. Prayer should be constant in your heart and overwhelming in your mind. I want to pray for the sick and wounded, the brokenhearted. But I also want to pray for the women in their walk with Christ, and pray for the men that they should choose to be leaders of their homes, courageous and brave and Godly. I think we should be praying more because nothing but good things can come from speaking to our Lord. He loves it. He loves us. His mercy is never failing, never falters.
It really concerns me when our prayers seem scripted, written, not from the heart. It concerns me that we should be concerned about someone "hearing" us talk to our God. I love to pray, and I have those very human hang ups about doing it in front of people. But I do it, because, when I pray to my Lord, I pray only to my Lord, and I do not care who hears me or what they are thinking. I can only be concerned with what God can do when I ask him to do it. If I do not ask, then how will he know when I need?
The next time a prayer request pops up on your email, on your face book feed or is printed on your bulletin, pause before accepting the commitment of praying for the person or situation.
*Am I capable of praying- really praying with fervor, commitment, intent and with a purpose? *Am I willing to pray for intercession on this persons heart, and is my heart in good enough shape to ask such a request?
And If you can't answer yes, then make it right and pray for your self first.
Praying is not for the faint of heart- but it is rewarding and a commitment that will bring you closer to your God and bring you peace beyond measure. Prayer can move mountains and calm stormy seas. It can change your life- I am living proof.