Prayer Thoughts (part 2)

So here it is…some more thoughts on prayer.

1. Praying opens my eyes to opportunities: Sometimes, instead of praying I try to figure out a solution to a given issue or problem myself. This usually makes the issue even messier, and often results in a high level of stress for me and anyone else involved. It isn’t that I consciously think, I could do something to try to fix this or I could pray. But that is sometimes the way I act. I do what I can and pray for the part I can’t do. It’s the “God helps those who helps themselves” mentality. But the error in this thinking is obvious. Doing should never eclipse praying. But neither is praying a cop-out in which I am exonerated from any action. That’s the problem of the “Let Go and Let God” mentality.  Instead of either of these traps—do, do, do on the one hand, and pray with no intention of doing—I am finding that as I pray, God puts on my heart the actions I can take, and not only that, he motivates me for those steps. He works in me giving me “the desire and power to do what pleases him.” (Phil. 2:13) This isn’t frenzied effort, or an attempt to earn points with God or man. Instead it is an invitation from God to be part of His answer. As I pray, he gives me ideas that go far beyond anything I might have thought of. But more than that, he also makes those ideas attractive. I want to do something. I don’t feel cornered into something; I feel free to express Him and his love.

2. The more I pray the more I want to pray: Early in 2016 I made a covenant before the Lord to spend 10 minutes every morning in quiet, still prayer. Not praying while walking, driving, doing dishes, just sitting still and praying. And I committed to pray for whatever he brought to my mind. I tried to make a list of the things i didn’t want to forget to pray about daily, but God said, “No list; just sit with me.” At first ten minutes felt like an eternity in the shadowed light of predawn, wrapped in silence and still feeling drowsy. I prayed, and I listened. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but occasionally I checked my watch—just to see if I had made it to ten minutes yet. I’m so used to praying on the move or while I’m doing some mindless housework, that sitting still was very new and even a little uncomfortable for me. And then it wasn’t quite so new, or uncomfortable. Somewhere around summertime it started feeling like a gift more than a commitment. And that gift couldn’t fit inside of ten minutes, or twenty minutes. Getting up earlier seemed like the only way to make enough space for the gift of silent, still prayer. And that seemed worth it. Because the more time I spend in stillness before my Savior, the more I long for it. Prayer fosters more prayer.

As I have prayed, and pondered prayer, I’ve also been compelled to consider how I respond to God’s answers. How did the Biblical saints respond to answered prayers? And what might we learn from them? That’s what I’ll blog about next week.

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