Never stop praying. I Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)
Abraham and Sarah. Hannah. David. Paul. Jesus. Praying. Not just once but for years. Maybe without ceasing. And were all of their prayers answered?
Prayer is a vital part of a disciple’s life. Prayer is, simply, conversation with God. Some are more comfortable with repeating written prayers. There are certainly some beautiful ones. The Psalms are wonderful prayers of thanksgiving, help, healing, just about anything is covered there. Many people enjoy The Book of Common Prayer. As a child I certainly repeated many of those prayers. The repetition of prayer can negate a conversation that comes from the heart. Not always but often. It is with the heart that God wants to communicate most.
Solomon prayed and is said to have asked God for the best â€“ wisdom. And God answered Solomon’s prayer and gave him wisdom. Unfortunately, Solomon did not continue to use wisely what he had asked for. Adam and Eve. Could it be that they were told not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because they lacked the wisdom to know what to do with the knowledge? And here we are in the 21st century still struggling to recognize wisdom and then what to do with it.
The conversation or prayer is not for God’s benefit. God knows my heart. He knows my needs and desires. The prayer is for my benefit. It is a time of sifting the real from the distraction, the emotion from the truth. It is a time of learning as the Spirit reminds me of God’s character and principles.
A frequent prayer that God hears from me is about wanting to spend time with my family. God understands as He certainly wants to spend time with me and often I am â€œtoo busyâ€ with other important things. Do you know what I hear most often when I pray, â€œPlease make a way for us to be togetherâ€? I am reminded that God guided me to raise my children to be about His Kingdom business â€“ and they are. He brought them through many difficult years and now they are ministering to many friends and extended family who are going through difficulties. And they are raising their own children. They are about what they should be about and I am about what I should be doing. And then God reminds me of Skype and text messages and phone calls and emails and Facebook! LOL I am a very blessed woman to have most of my family loving and serving our LORD. There will be a time when we will be together â€“ forever. And Jesus does not tire of my prayers no matter how often they seem to have the same subject. He is patient and loving.
Conversation can certainly be spontaneous. Prayer can be spur of the moment. It can be an ongoing, throughout the day conversation with God. But it is important to have quiet, focused time also. Most of us find the beginning of the day or the end of the day the best time. There was a time that I closed my office door and Jesus and I would have lunch together. Yes, if anyone peeked in my window and saw me chatting away without seeing anyone in the room with me they might have thought I slid off the side of sanity. They couldn’t argue with the fact that I came out of lunch refreshed and ready for the next 4-5 hours, however! So if you wonder if you can squeeze another ‘thing’ in your day â€“ try this: set your clock 10 minutes earlier. In the morning get the coffee pot going, go to the shower and have that 10 minutes in the quiet and solitude of your bathroom. Yes, that’s right. It’s not a bad prayer closet because you are rarely interrupted. Just share with God your concerns for the day. Ask Him to guide you and give you wisdom. Or if you’re not a morning person, take that 10 minutes at night in the bathroom before you go to bed. Try it until next week this time and then ask yourself on that day, â€œHow has the last week gone? Do I feel better today than I did a week ago?â€
I couldn’t stop unless I shared what He has taught me through the years about unanswered prayers. I believe God does answer every prayer. Just as any parent answers their child’s numerous questions, so God answers me. Sometimes His answers come quick and very clear. Sometimes they come quickly but I don’t hear Him because He isn’t saying what I want to hear! And sometimes I can hear Him in the silence, telling me He has told me His answer before and it hasn’t changed. And then there is the silence that can mean we have more to discuss and I have more to learn so that I am willing to hear the best answer.
Pray and don’t stop. Talk to God and don’t stop.
The Prayer by David Foster and Carol Bayer Sager, sung by Celine Dion and Josh Groban