What is prayer??

I believe God is sending me a message.  Only way to know for sure is to pray.

This past Sunday, Pastor Gordon of Snohomish Community Church delivered a power sermon on prayer, right from the final chapter of James.  Then this morning at the church staff meeting, the daily devotional was on prayer.  Then I finally get to my devotional time (a bit later than usual) and open up Tozer on Leaderhip.  You guessed it, the title was “Prayer: The First Lesson to Learn”.

Most people only think of prayer as the kind of down on your knees, eyes closed, head bowed kind of prayer.  This kind of “shut the world out and focus” kind of prayer is important.  Others look at the ceremonial prayers as the model, before meals, at church, before an event, etc.  I think all of these prayers are PART of prayer life but not the whole picture.

Paul tells the Romans that “without ceasing” he mentions them to God.  We are told to pray without ceasing.  If the only type of prayer we know and practice are the examples above, how is that possible.  You can’t pray that way at work, while your driving, playing with your kids, eating, etc.  If this is the only picture we have of prayer, we can never accomplish the instruction to pray without ceasing.

Then how do we accomplish that task?  The answer is simple (although not easy at all).  Prayer is simply being in conversation with the Holy Spirit.  You can have that conversation with your eyes open, while you’re driving.  You can have that conversation out loud or simply in your head.  That conversation doesn’t even always need to be with words.  I know that more than half of my prayer life has no words at all, simply thoughts and pictures.  When I ask the Holy Spirit who I should life up to the Lord, I literally see images of people in my head, sometimes on a slow roll but sometimes on a rapid flash.  I simply lift them all up, not knowing what I’m even praying for.  There are no words, just simply another sole presenting that person before the Lord.  If I were to attempt to place words with all those images, I couldn’t keep up.  So I simply allow the Spirit to do that for me.

Is this the Lord’s Prayer taught to us by Jesus? No.  Is this the type of prayer we can accomplish in a group? No.  But is this a way I can “pray without ceasing”? Absolutely.

Bottom line, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about HOW you pray, just pray.  Just talk to God.  He’s there always.  He always listens, and believe it or not, He always answers prayer.  The hard thing to accept is that it’s not always how or when you want it answered.

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