How is your prayer life?
Do you feel your conversations with your creator are as vibrant, deep and beautiful as you’d like them to be? Do you feel like your ramblings with your redeemer are reforming you? Are you satisfied with your supplications before your Sustainer?
In his book, Prayer, Philip Yancey begins by reflecting on his investigation of prayer through the annals of church history. He comments how central prayer has seemed to the lives of those following Jesus, noting particular people like Calvin, Luther and Jonathan Edwards who would spend hours on their knees each day in prayer. He juxtaposes that against the modern follower of Jesus who in theory sees prayer as incredibly significant – paramount even – but in reality has a prayer life that looks more like “sitting fidgeting for a couple minutes”.
Over August, in KingsGate Kingston, we’re going to stop, pause, and reflect (the bible uses the word “Selah” for this idea) on our prayer lives – considering where we’re really at, and what we’re invited into.
On Sunday morning I proposed that we need to shift in how we see prayer: instead of seeing it as a burden or another thing on our task list (that we feel guilty about not getting to…), we need to see it as a privilege and a pleasure. Instead of focussing on the ‘importance’ of prayer, perhaps we need to explore the ‘invitation’ of prayer.
What are we invited into?
I believe that, in prayer, we’re invited into greater communion with God, the architect of our souls. We’re invited to participate with God as He changes the world, ushering in His Kingdom, transforming our inner world and the world around and outside us. We’re invited to emulate Jesus who has a compelling and inspirational rhythm and life of prayer. Even Jesus, the ‘God-man’, pursued a life of prayer with his father.
While preaching on prayer recently, Jon Tyson (a church leader in NYC) urged people to “Pray what you got”. Rather than putting yourself under pressure for not praying like someone else, or praying how you feel you ought to pray, just release yourself from the unnecessary pressure of comparison, and just pray what you got.
I think many of us struggle to avoid curating our prayers. Rather than putting before God what is really going on inside of us (our frustrations, fears, our actual dreams and desires…) we put before him what we feel we ought to have inside of us.
Take some time out to stop pause and reflect (by yourself, or as part of a group), and consider:
– What is Jesus inviting you into at the moment?
– What prayer practices is he inviting you into?
– Where and how are curating your prayers? Ie, Are you praying about what is really on your heart and mind?