Wednesday, July 10, 2019

As We Pray God Power-Shares with Us

(Lake Michigan Sunset)

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 praying life. [1] Some reasons for this are:

  • They don't know what prayer is. Or...
  • They know what prayer is but do not really believe it. Or…
  • Their material prosperity creates the illusion of not needing to pray. Or…
  • Their lives have become so cluttered with many things to “do” that they have little time for just “being” with God.

If prayer is what it claims to be, then someone who believed would pray. Why? Because praying is talking with God. God and I are talking about what we are thinking and doing together. 

God and I, dialoguing!!![2] ! If this is real, only a fool would not pray. If this is not real, then you won’t see me praying, even in a foxhole.

Dallas Willard writes: "Prayer is God's arrangement for a safe power sharing with us in his intention to bless the world through us”[3] In praying, I interact with God. God shares power with me. (Wayne Grudem calls power one of God's communicable attributes - see his Systematic Theology.)

Where prayer focuses, power falls. This is important, because some demons can only be driven out by prayer.

Who in their right mind would not have time for this?

The sign that I believe in prayer is that I pray, a lot. What I need is belief. Belief must be cultivated in me. God will not simply download belief into me. The way to increase in belief is by praying. I learn prayer by praying. I keep praying, and unbelief morphs into belief. Then, I find time for praying. And experience greater access to God's power.

[1] By “much of a prayer life” I mean the kind of praying life Jesus had, who, as was his custom, went out in the morning to lonely places and prayed.
[2] I’ll give this three exclamation points, one for each member of the Trinity.
[3] Dallas Willard, Knowing Christ Today. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.