One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, on e of his disciples said to him, â€œLord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.â€ Luke 11:1 (NIV)
I believe that no matter how long you have walked with Jesus you are always looking for something more. It is a yearning built inside of me by my Creator to desire to move closer to Him. For right now, while I am here in this world and in this perishable body, prayer is the best avenue for me to move closer to God. â€œTeach me to pray, Jesus! I want to connect to the Father like You did!â€
I have to grow in my prayer. Just like a baby begins to talk by babbling, so my prayers can start as trying to say what I hear others say. The first prayer I learned was â€œGod bless _____.â€ I asked God to bless my mom and dad and brother and the cat and my dolls. And my mother say by my bed and listened to the whole list! Then I learned our meal prayer. I learned prayers that others had written and said before me. That is still a good format. The Bible is full of prayers. The psalms cover repentance, forgiveness, praise, thanksgiving, and even prayers asking God to curse someone. That may seem â€¦ not good but if you are really angry at someone â€“ taking that anger to God and asking God to decide whether the person should be cursed or not â€“ that sounds like divine wisdom to me!
I have to show up for class. If I want to learn how to pray and grow in prayer, I have to show up for the class. Jesus is my Teacher. Spending time with Jesus is learning from the best! If I do not come to class every day then I will not grow. I will be destined to keep repeating Prayer First Grade. I will never get past the ‘handshake’ level of intimacy with God. My routine for prayer has varied over the years. I have been set free from thinking that I must get up early in the morning in order to have a prayer life. I admire people who can get up at 5 a.m. and spend time with God before their children wake and the rest of their busy day begins. I don’t do 5 a.m. very well. God and I have a chat in the shower in the morning and agree on the ‘tone’ and desires for the day and then we have a long talk at night before I go to bed. We also chat throughout the day. I have also found the freedom to close my door at work for 5 minutes when I need to give something to God or pray for someone and I do not feel guilty for it.
Live in two worlds. Prayer narrows my world to me and God. In those moments or minutes, I close the door on the chaos and calliope of sounds and confusion so that He is all I hear and know. It is in prayer that I come into God’s world and then take Him into the world where I must now live. Prayer sifts what is unnecessary and yet adds what is needed. Prayer is not about spiritual ecstasy but about being equipped for life. At one time, I had a literal ‘prayer closet’. I took the coat closet beneath our staircase and brought in a pillow, my Bible, and notebook and that is where I would go to meet God in those busy days with work and family. When I shut the door, everyone knew that â€œMom is in a meeting with Godâ€ and short of the house burning down or a child bleeding â€“ I was not to be disturbed. They also knew that when I came out of the closet I was so much nicer to be around!
It’s easier to take time to go to the doctor when you are so sick that you cannot function in your daily life. It’s harder to make the time for those preventative check-ups and annual teeth cleanings. When life is a crisis, I am quick to go to my knees to meet God. When I â€œhave it all under controlâ€, I put God on my To Do List. The reality is â€“ I need God every day. It is my standing â€¦ I mean kneeling… appointment!