Sunday, February 24, 2013

Prayer: When the Requirement Becomes the Relationship

Redeemer sanctuary

Many years ago I was counseling a marriage where the woman wanted, more than anything, for her husband to co-partner with her in a life of following after Jesus. This possibility was placed in her heart before they were married. He promised her he would do this. He went to church services with her, prayed with her, and talked about their faith together with her.

When they got married, he stopped doing these things.

Now she felt desperate. He was worried she would leave him because he didn't keep his promises. So he promised again, this time in front of me, that he would go after a Jesus-guided life. She trusted this again.

Less than a year later he was spiritually adrift. He made promises to her, and broke them. She was taken in by his "faith" that never really was there. He got religious just to get her. Love for Jesus simply was not part of his heart.

My Spiritual Formation class at Payne Theological Seminary is now ending. I've assigned students to pray for one hour a day, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks. The six weeks are over. Will these students continue to have a prayer life? I predict that some of them will. They will be like myself and others, who got a God-given prayer life years ago and have been immersed in the intimate God-relationship for years. That is my hope and prayer for each of these students.

The reality of this will now be seen once the class prayer assignments are officially over. Will the deeper God-relationship remain? Will the requirement be a relationship? It will for some of them, for which I thank and praise God!