“If you want that splendid power in prayer — you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul prays…a lot. I pray that…… Appears throughout his letter often.
I find praying hard… If I call it prayer. I don’t know if it is the religious side of me that makes me feel that duty and works are tied up in it but if you ask me to pray as a discipline or duty…you won’t find me there. As soon as you demand I pray I feel heaven shuts the gate to my ‘hands in my pocket and drooping attitude’ disposition. What works for me is to simply not call it prayer. Just like reading my Bible.. Over the year reading my bible more! praying more???what is that???what is that religious spirit that feels the accuser at my ankles begging for more.. No MORE!!!! It can not ever be about more ..more this , more that! There is nothing I can do to add to who Jesus is for me and what he has done for me. The other thing I don’t want to do is hear about prayer and write about prayer… I actually need to engage in dialogue with my saviour .. It is an adventure if discovery. So what do we call it so it doesn’t feel religious? Don’t get me wrong.. I do not doubt the power of prayer!!!! It is what linked Jesus to his daily purpose and enabled him to endure the cross! The gospels are filled with references to his constant conversations with his Father and his constant retreat to be alone with his Father. He only did what the Father told him to do!!!! This was no duty bound thing to. This was to enable him to walk according to purpose and keep his Father’s will ever before him.
There is something that weaves its way through every letter Paul writes. It is the frequency with which he not only let’s them know what he is praying but that it is often and with great meaning and depth. Deeper than the idea that Paul prays is this idea that Spurgeon talks about…the abiding in Jesus. The richness of an intimate relationship that makes prayer so rich and meaningful to his existence and to his purpose.
Today I have my list…the needs in my world ..my daughter, my son and my leaders, my nurture group, my husband, the girls I am responsible for, the church I love, the work environment I serve in every week, the extended family I hardly ever see and the needs of humanity that bear a weight so heavy on my chest. But my list and even my answers are about this…this abiding, remaining, dwelling. I love the quote I read this week from some blog…To pray for me must be about ‘focussing on Christ and not the crisis’. To let him carry the needs of my heart to bear upon my Father. Prayer for me is getting drawing in and staying close to him. It has to be about nourishment and being sustained.
I must constantly reinvent my understanding of prayer so that it never becomes a prison sentence. Or some religious act of good works. I would hate my kids to think that spending time talking to me felt like that. There are times they must listen to correction from me but the most powerful moment comes when they get to share their side and I am safe enough to help them process their feelings out loud and realign their hearts with truth. The power of the most meaningful conversations with my kids has helped me understand what prayer has to be for me. My kids feel close when they feel heard.
My need to feel heard like every human on earth is already met. The Father hears me…I AM heard… If I truly feel heard then today ..every worry, every frustration and every need can be left with Him and all that others need to see is the freedom because the burden was left with Christ already today . When I know I am heard it helps me stop demanding feeling heard from others. He is willing to listen…to every moan, groan, worry and fear. He is able to carry any burden, break through any barrier and bring about a fix to any frustration…why oh why does someone else have to listen to all that when there is someone who can carry all that.
I know my prayer life is heading south by how much I complain, whine to others; how much yelling or need ‘get loud’ with my kids; how frustrated i am when i have to explain something again Holy spirit convict me and lead me back to the place where this should happen…not at the feet of those who need grace but at the feet of the one who offers it most.