2005-04-04 - Prayer
2 Chronicles 7:12, "...I have heard your prayer..."
It is probably my favorite topic, because I believe that God hears His people. This just blows my mind. The God of the universe hears the pleadings, praises, hopes, aspirations, and struggles of His children when they bring them before Him in prayer. Prayer is quite an amazing thing. We have communion with the one who thought all this stuff up. The creator of the world hears when we talk to him. Is this not something that should blow our mind? Let us take this a little further...
I am going to take this in a couple of directions, but I want to start by first saying that I stayed up almost all night on Friday, waiting for the Pope to die, because I knew at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, I would have to go to work at a Catholic College. I also knew as a Theology professor there, I would probably be asked to pray before the classes regarding the Pope's death. The Pope held out, and I did not have to pray, but there is a principle here. I know I would have been asked to pray before the classes; they were in the behavioral health and criminal justice area. Neither Prof., really, could lead their class in prayer, and while I am not Catholic, it would have fallen to me, and I would have done it. But even when I teach my own classes, I don't lead in prayer, so the thought seemed so fake to me. And I think that it is true that those who do not pray usually, and I don't pray usually before my class, are praying fakely when they try to pray under a special circumstance.
I was prepared to pray, and it would have been from the heart, but it would have been something uncommon. I think in my next class, I will start with prayer, but I was not sure if that was allowed, since I am still getting my feet wet and was not sure how "religious" an institution this was - or was it academic. I took the way out that would not get me in trouble. I know, a cop-out, but I want to teach there again and influence people for Christ. I made a pragmatic choice.
What do we say to those who don't pray in private, but give us flowery prayers, with all the right words, catchy phrases, and Bible trivia? We have to say that those special, rare, prayers are fake. If prayer is not a regular part of your life, then don't pretend you are a man or woman of prayer. Real prayer is honest. Real prayer is raw. Real prayer before God is something that we know when we see it. It is a pouring of our heart out before the Lord. It is as if we were alone in our closet, door shut, black room, hands on the face, pleading with our Lord and Savior. That is what we should bring to a prayer meeting. If we brought this, I tell you the truth, the world would be turned upside down. The Lord hears the cries of His children.
I want to ask you a question. Have you ever spent an entire night alone with God in prayer? It is like sleep fasting. We don't give up food, but rather sleep, and spend the entire night seeking the Lord. I admit I have only done it once, but it was one of the most spiritually emotional experiences I have ever had. An entire night pleading with the Lord for anything...a special need, a hope, whatever...A whole night in prayer to the Lord is rare, and even though I have only done it once, and for a specific reason, I tell you it was one of the highlights of my spiritual walk with the Lord.
I don't know about the prayer meetings at your church...I hope you have them. However, I wonder if the prayer meetings are about as exciting as death itself. I have attended two churches where they had a weekly prayer meeting. In one, the same four people showed up every week, that was it, and this was a large church. We prayed, and it was like polishing brass. One of the four (not me), was excommunicated because of gross sin, but he prayed like a angel. Don't let prayer fool you. In your prayer alone, before the Lord, pour your heart out, be honest, hold nothing back. The Lord knows your heart anyway. You can't hide anything from the Lord. All you can receive from the Lord is His blessings in response to prayer. How can, and I speak to myself, any one of us desire anything less than seeking the will and blessing of Jesus Christ. Talk about a retirement package, and a reason to live...prayer and seeking the Lord in all things is where life starts, both mortal, and eternal.
Here is my application. Try to spend an hour in prayer today. Do it for whatever reason. But if you want me to smile, spend two hours in prayer. I promise you that it will only be to your advantage. It is a privilege to pray.
Soli Deo Gloria,