Friday, July 19, 2013

Prayer Is God's Arrangement for a Safe Power Sharing (Prayer Summer)

Woman praying in Jerusalem.
I meet many people, including pastors and Christian leaders, who struggle to find time to pray. My seminary teaching tells me that 80% of North American and European pastors don't have much of a prayer life. Why not? I think the reasons for this are:
  • They don't know what prayer is. Or...
  • They know what prayer is but do not really believe it.
I can't think of another alternative, because if prayer is what it claims to be then someone who believed in prayer would pray. Why?

Because prayer is, as Dallas Willard has said, talking with God about what we are doing together. God and I, doing things together. God and I, dialoguing. (!!!) If this is real, then we are fools not to pray. If we believed this was real, we would pray. If this is not real, then I won't be praying because I'll be busy doing other things.

Willard, in Knowing Christ Today, writes: "Prayer is God's arrangement for a safe power sharing with us in his intention to bless the world through us. In response to prayer we see good accomplished far beyond what we are capable of and in a form suited to the wisdom of God - not just to what we think we know about the situation we are praying for. Clearly prayer is a major dimension of living interactively with God."
  • In prayer, we interact with God. God interacts with us. If that is true, ponder it.
  • In prayer, God shares his power with us. If that is true, what sort of person would not have time for it?
  • As we respond to prayer, God empowers us with his power to bless the world. That would be cool, if only it was true.
Sometimes I've read things like this and felt "guilty." Guilt feelings mean nothing if action does not follow. Action will not be taken where there is unbelief. Guilt without action is equivalent to confession without repentance.

The mark of someone who believes in prayer is that they pray a lot. What's needed is belief. Belief must be cultivated. If you're a Jesus-follower the way to do this is to choose a life of prayer. I doubt that God will simply "download" belief into you.

Learn prayer by praying. Keep praying until unbelief morphs into belief. Then will you find time to pray.