Practical Prayer

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.(Luke 5:15-16)

Contemporary society is the busiest in the history of humanity.  This is not to say that previous generations did not work extremely hard, because progress was built on hard work.  However, the complexity of our lives in 2011, dwarfs the generations of the past.  One statistic states that the average person daily ingests and discerns more information than the average person in 1910 did in an entire year. 

With economic pressures overhead, most of us feel the tension to be even more productive than ever, and experience more uncertainty than ever.   In the midst of all of this, our ongoing secularization tells us that faith has a diminishing role in the practical affairs of your job, family, relationships, careers, and finances.  Secularization is the process in which people go from having a worldview where God is overall and through all, to a worldview where God's influence is reduced to highly personal matters, and restricted to only "spiritual" things.

In the midst of our infatuation of doing more and more, Christians are called to simply connect with Jesus Christ and to allow that connection to lead, guide, and compel our actions and behavior.  This connection forms the basis of our being and doing in the world (John 15:5).  It is to be our guiding light, compass, GPS, and map all in one.

It has been said that if you are too busy to pray, then you are too busy.  In our opening scripture, we find that the busier that Jesus became, the more time he set aside for prayer.  That's right, the busier he became, the more (not less!) time he spent in prayer.  This suggests a couple of points for Christians today:

1. Prayer allows to live proactively, not simply reactively.  The power of prayer is that it establishes a connection with God that is two way.  We commuicate with God as He is communicates with us.  Prayer is not to change or manipulate God into doing things for us, as much as it changes us to do the will of God.  That revealed will of God, and our submission to it, allows us to live and love proactively.

2. Prayer is a constant activity.  Christians are called to pray continually (I Thess 5:17).  There are times where that prayer needs to be concentrated, with a focus on listening.  Yet, there are also times where we are in continued dialogue with God throughout our activities of the day.  Christians should seek to live the day in constant communion (connection) with God.

3. Prayer demonstrates the reality of Christ.  If we can be honest, many do not pray to Jesus because they simply do not believe Jesus is real.  They want him to be real, and identify themselves as Christians, but do not actually convinced he is real.  They do not believe he is present at the workplace, neighborhood, in foreclosures, in hospitals, during business meetings, or during jury duty.  If we were convinced he was real, and that he was who he said he was, prayer becomes a natural reality and a desired connection.  It is no longer an obligation, but a privilege to be enjoyed and an opportunity to be celebrated.

I want to challenge you today to consider the reality of God and the power of prayer.  You may wish to begin every single day with a time of prayer.  Not a conjured-up, religious babbling, but speaking to the Lord.  (see the video below for a humerous take on this!).  It will provide you with clarity and peace in the midst of an often hectic pace.

May God bless you all,

Pastor M Traylor

Dr. M TraylorComment