2000-07-26 - Prayer, Part 1
The Spiritual Disciplines Series, Part 3
Originally Published 2002-05-97
Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show
them that they should always pray and not give up. (NIV)
Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful
and thankful. (NIV)
When you think of prayer, what do you think about? I used to think prayer
is for very spiritual people, the kind who can pray eloquently in public.
I believed that there was a formula -- a certain procedure -- and only one
correct way to pray. In short, prayer was intimidating to me. Years ago,
I heard the following true story and it changed my prayer life from that
A pastor of a large church in a Midwest town received a phone call from a
lady who was somewhat distraught. This lady had been taking care of her elderly
father in her home for several years. Her father was unable to get out of
bed, and she had to care for all his physical needs -- but he was mentally
very alert. It seems the father had heard the pastor on the radio for the
past several years, and had become quite fond of his teaching. The daughter
told the pastor that her father wanted to meet with him, as they were unchurched
and had no pastor to call upon. The pastor went to the daughter's house and
was led down the hall to the father's bedroom. The kind elderly gentleman's
face beamed upon meeting the pastor, as he invited him to sit down and chat.
As the pastor moved toward a wooden ladderback chair to sit down, the gentleman
said "Umm … sorry Pastor, no one can sit in that chair; please sit over here."
The pastor thought that was odd until the man said "You see, Pastor, that
chair is for Jesus. When I pray, Jesus is sitting in that chair, and we have
conversations. I pray, and then I listen for the quiet, still voice of our
Lord." That hit me between the eyes. Prayer is a conversation with our Lord.
No fancy fluff, no rules, no boundaries -- just simple conversation.
Psa 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; Pour out
your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (NIV)
A few weeks later, the pastor received a phone call from the daughter, saying
her father had died, and she asked him to serve at the funeral. As she was
hanging up, she said "You know, Pastor, my dad died in a strange way. We
found him kneeling down, with his head lying in that old wooden chair."
Dear Lord, thank You for being an accessible God, for
allowing us Your full attention anytime, anywhere and anyplace. Thank You
for inviting us to pour our hearts out to You. Lord, help us to be more faithful
in our prayer lives, In Jesus' precious name we pray. Amen.