Most of us pray only when we need something or are ailing. That’s the way it was with me for the longest time. Relying on my wits and abilities, I plunged into places angels fear to tread (I just thought that last phrase was catchy – forgive me.)
Prayer was one of the last things on my mind. I will say this though, my prayers were always in earnest and believing. And now that I am older, I am more prone to reflect on the deeper things of God and find myself in prayer continually, although I can’t remember praying in fear about anything. Mostly, my prayers are for others and my country – which I believe stands in peril because of its moral collapse.
Praying to me is simply talking with God, appreciating Him and His presence in my life. This in spite of our proclivity for sinful behavior. (Thank God for Jesus!)
Is it any wonder David of the Old Testament found favor with God? David, although being all too human, was given favored stature before God Almighty. David was always talking with God. (He even wrote songs to God. You can read them in the book of Psalms.)
What I’m trying to say here is that when we call out to God, we must do so with honesty and openness if we expect Him to listen.
God hates the hollow repetitious prayers that are mouthed by some. Even a heartfelt “Our Father” can have the stench of piety or hypocrisy to our omniscient God, who knows our propensity to fake it – especially in front of others.
Today I stopped at the grocery store on my way home, and after I got out of the car – low and behold, I spotted a dollar bill lying on the pavement of the parking lot next to where I parked. Naturally, I picked it up and looked to see if anyone had dropped it. There were only a couple of other people, but they were too far away to have dropped it in that spot. That incident reminded me of the time I hadn’t eaten all day and was famished; on top of that, my car had broken down, and I was on foot.
It was late at night, and just like in a movie of a poor, hungry soul, I was trudging along 123 Street in North Miami just west of Biscayne Blvd near the Old Movie Studio where “Flipper” had been filmed years ago. I was praying for myself for once while my stomach cried out for food. (I hadn’t yet been paid for my latest gig.) Because of my need for glucose, I felt I would soon fall on my face from weakness onto the cement sidewalk.
The short, desperate prayer had just left my lips when a gust of wind blowing from west to east made what little litter in the gutter flutter and come toward me. Among the candy wrapper and a couple of pieces of paper, I spotted what I knew to be paper money. Instantly, I ran and picked up the ten-dollar bill God had sent me. I thanked Him profusely, and shaking like a leaf, I went back to Kenny Rodgers Fried Chicken a block away and ate to my heart’s content.
Incidentally, I wrote about this and the many other incidences of miraculous happenings in my 240-page manuscript (for which I’m still seeking a publisher).
There are all kinds of prayers going up to God at any given moment.
Consider the apostle Paul who prayed for healing for a “thorn” he had in the flesh. If the thorn was some physical ailment or something like arthritic pain, God might not have said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” On the other hand, if it was one of sinful desire or thought, it might have been more apropos to say such a thing since He accepts us with sinful baggage that we find hard or even impossible to overcome. A perfect example is when a man sees a desireful woman and wonders what it would be like to spend some time with her. After all, we are sexual creatures. (I’ll leave that hot potato right there.)
My take on prayer is that we must really say what is in the deep recesses of our hearts and minds, no thees and thous. Fall on your face if you must; confess your sins if you must; this may be the only time you will be able to be frank with God Almighty – take advantage of this opportunity. There are times when we don’t know what else to do but pray, like the loss of a loved one, loss of income, hunger, pain and/or utter defeat.
Whenever I get down, it only takes a short prayer for God to send healing and hope. On the other hand, sometimes it seems to take forever as in, “Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
When things seem to be taking a long time to come together, it could be that the angels that God has ordered to rescue you have been hindered by our adversary? Jesus said to pray without ceasing.
If you can’t see the glory of God while driving along the highway and seeing the ocean pass by with a beautiful sunset in the background to appreciate, then you may not be a Christian after all. Maybe a walk in the woods or being surrounded by flowers is for you, but I find myself being thankful for all these wonders and praising God all day long.
Yes, that’s the KEY to what I’m attempting to say; praise is the key that unlocks the door to God’s heart. Thank Him for your food, for your rest, for your health, for the undeserved relationship that Christ made possible for you, and you will find God’s ear inclined toward you. He loves those who love Him.
In some cases, the best we can hope for is to be at ease in our current circumstances and wait on the Lord to act on our behalf. Don’t forget that the Bible tells us to wait upon the Lord. “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall run and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
I’m reading a book with the title “Jesus” that was written to explore the intimate details of Jesus’ early life. It’s a very interesting book, and I’ll tell you something about it when I finish. It is written by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola and is referred to as a “Theography” as opposed to biography.