Talking about prayer vs. actually praying
Prayer is hard work. I’m not talking about the quick prayer that you blurt out when you face a sudden crisis. I’m talking about the kind of prayer that moves mountains and changes us (and others). I think I know why.
If you want evidence that prayer is hard work, just look at Jesus. When he needed it most, he asked his closest friends to pray with him for one hour. They really WANTED to! But they couldn’t. Not just because it was late. But because it’s hard work. (Matthew 26:40-45) Here’s why it’s hard for most of us. Prayer requires us to admit that we’re in need. It forces us to have a conversation with an unseen God, and to acknowledge that we need him to do what we can’t. And for anyone with a shred of “dignity” this seems like admitting failure. Who wants to admit they can’t do something? Bottom line: prayer is humbling. If you wanted to think you were hot stuff, prayer will relieve you of that illusion. You can’t approach God on your knees (literally or otherwise) without admitting that you “can’t.”
It’s interesting that God told Solomon at the dedication of the Temple that when things go badly for his people, the way back would be prayer.
…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
To pray is to humble ourselves. That’s one of the reasons prayer is so hard. That’s why it’s a lot easier to talk about prayer than to actually DO prayer.
This Sunday evening we’re going to pray together as a church. We’re going to pray for those in our community who are far from God. We’re going to pray for the personal needs of those in our own church. And we’re going to pray that God’s power will be evident in and through this church. We’re going to prayer that the God of hope will ignite HOPE right here in our city. Because by ourselves we can’t do this. But God can. So we will pray…in humility. I invite you to join us at 5:30 for pizza, followed by prayer at 6:00.