One need not be a Christian to realize that a certain amount of “meditation” is good for the soul. If a state of quiet nothingness is good for the soul, how much greater benefit when the heart and mind are in communication with God Almighty?
But is it really possible?
Have you ever had the feeling that praying to God was like tossing wishes into the air? Maybe you have experienced the “fast food prayer” that simply says, “OH GOD!”
Sad to say, I have been in prayer meetings where the pastor piously gets on his knees, followed by the elders in the church and anyone else wishing to participate, in what too often resembles theatrical blocking. I too have sat in a prayer circle, quietly rehearsing. I have prayed in the King James Version with the words, “Thee and Thou” placed properly within the context of my, “spiritual script” so as to properly impress those with whom I recite. I therefore have a fairly good idea of what prayer - IS NOT.
So what is prayer? Is it real communication? How do you do it effectively? Frankly, if God knows everything ... why does He need to hear about it from me anyway?
Luke 11:1 records the following event:
“And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Without doubt, these men had previously experienced some form of prayer in their lives, but there was something significantly different in the prayer of Jesus. His prayer was compelling! It was magnetic - alive, and the disciples instinctively knew that prayer was of vital importance to Jesus. They wanted that POWER to also be evident in their prayers.
Perhaps the following story will illustrate the mechanics of prayer. High winds caused a weekly prayer meeting to suffer an electrical outage. An electrician in the congregation, realizing that there was nothing he could do locally, called the station hub for information. They advised him that his immediate area had been affected but crews were already taking care of the situation. The service desk advised the electrician that the problem should be resolved in fifteen to twenty minutes. The gentleman quickly scribbled a note to the minister who, with no overhead lighting, was fast slipping into the shadows of sunset. The note simply said, “After prayer the power will return.” How true it is! After prayer the power always returns.
Let me just share a personal experience. As a youngster I had a difficult time understanding prayer. I was actually concerned that I would never find a time when no one else in the world was praying. How could I ever capture the attention of Almighty God with everyone else praying at the same time? I didn’t understand the personal relationship He had already established in my life.
One day I allowed my over-active imagination to get involved in my prayer. I actually imagined leaving my room and being translated through the atmosphere to the pearly gates of heaven. I imagined those pearly doors slowly opening to allow my humble entrance. I saw a heavenly mist and a brilliant light rolling down the stairway that greeted me. On my knees, I slowly climbed those stairs until I envisioned the nail-scared feet of Him Who sat upon the throne. I humbly removed my backpack in which I concealed my trials and tribulations, my anguish, my fears, my humble requests. I laid each and every article in my backpack before the Lord and sincerely acknowledged my weakness and His strength. Sounds spiritual enough so far - right?
As I ended my prayer, I began to clear the cluttered staircase of my failures, my guilt, my broken promises my fears and my needs. I returned each into my backpack just as I had brought them.
AND THEN IT HAPPENED!
In my imagination He who sat upon the throne quietly and lovingly asked: “Why do you so quickly take back that which you have just entrusted to Me?”
In that moment I experienced God personally! I experienced a refreshing new freedom, knowing He was in control. I experienced a new power in my life that would sustain me through the difficult times. Friend, you need only to leave the challenges of life there - with Him.
The Bible records the following:
“Casting the whole of your care - all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all - on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully.” - 1 Peter 5:7
“Cast your burden upon the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved - made to slip, fall or fail.” - Psalms 55:22
A new year is upon us; a time of reflection and anticipation. What will you choose to bring into the new year? Are their things best left on those heavenly stairs? I’ve got good news; His gates are always open!
Happy New Year!