Monday, April 27, 2015

When Your Life Has A Theme

My days have had a theme.

I didn't choose the subject matter, but it keeps following me and changing me. 

Monday started with several e-mails requesting prayer. There was a personal message asking for prayer. People on social media listing prayer needs. A meeting about –prayer. A phone call that rushed past the how-are-you's and skipped to, "would-you-pray-for-me?" Another phone actually asked, that I would stop praying, –if that was the reason behind their world being shaken up. 

In the grocery store, right in the middle of avocados and tomatoes, a person I barely know, poured out their problems and broken places. So with one hand on her shoulder and the other on a shopping cart handle, we prayed. There was yet another conversation about prayer, one which I did not initiate, and I told that person straight out, “I think, you think, I pray more than I actually do." 
You probably won’t find it at all surprising, that I also found myself in a situation, where someone had a video she wanted to share and it was on the subject of –prayer.

I don’t know the name of it, but the gentleman who was being interviewed, held my short attention span the entire time, as he told how his small town has been radically changed for good, because people there began to cry out to God earnestly and seek Him in prayer.

I hesitate to even write about prayer. 

I’m certainly not an expert on the subject. There are however, so many needs, endless hard things surrounding me, all of which I have no answers for. So, I simply find myself talking to God about them. 

That is really what prayer is; simply talking to God. 

If you have a heart of compassion, prayer allows you to enter into the lives of others. 

Once I wrote a blog post on "Impossible Prayers." It is still one of my most read blog posts, because people have problems and they go to, “Google” instead of God and search, “impossible prayers.” Apparently the search engines throw my blog post out there. I’m not sure that when they read that post they fully grasp the answer they were seeking, but I hope it points them to Jesus.

Too often, we only pray as a last resort. 

The rest of the time we tend to think we can handle things fine on our own. This week I was reminded that I need to be talking to God about things throughout the entire day, just as I would if I were spending time with a person I can see. If I were spending the day with you, we would just have ongoing conversation right? Well, God is a Person, not a vague vapor in the heavens and He wants to have conversation all day with us too.

So with this repeated theme of prayer, I did what any reasonable person would do. 

I prayed. 

I prayed in the shower. Sometimes I prayed as I drove and as I cooked and especially while I was writing about praying. A few times this week, I was just overwhelmed by the weight of some things and stopped long enough to lay on the floor face down for a few minutes. I prayed some short-of-breath prayers while I was exercising. I prayed in my favorite chair, where on the very best kind of days I sit and read in the morning, with the window open slightly so I can smell the damp air and hear the birds fuss outside.  Honestly don't be disillusioned. That doesn't happen as often as I'd like.

Sometimes I actually pray a verse over a situation. That is always a powerful prayer. I have verses I pray over my husband, my children and verses that I pray for myself in the areas I struggle. Perhaps my favorite way to pray is by walking in different neighborhoods. As you walk there are just things that come to mind to pray for homes and the people who live in them and for the schools and the children and teachers. 

Not every day, but as many as my husband is home, he and I pray together at night. Nothing fancy or impressive, because it isn't how well you roll the words together with God, but how earnestly you pour out your heart to Him.

Sometimes, especially when it comes to prayer, I think we make it too complicated. 

Prayer is our response to the person of God who loves us and who is always inviting us to join Him in what He is doing. It's crazy, but God is willing to do things in and through us, especially when we pray.

In the years that I've been falling in love with Jesus, I have learned a few things about God and prayer. 

The biggest thing I know is that God actually speaks to us through the Bible, through His Holy Spirit, the church and even circumstances, to reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways. And none of those things will contradict each other. So when I pray, I'm usually responding to something I know to be true about God. 

I know He loves all people. His heart is for the broken, the widow, the orphan, and those who are taken advantage of in this world. God will not despise a contrite heart and He opposes the proud.

Prayer is not asking God to do things for me with self-centered motives, though I'm sure that has happened. Often, when dealing with difficult people I will end a prayer, with these words, "Lord this is how I see it, but You know their hearts, so I trust you."

We need to keep short accounts with God about things that hurt us and cause us to have negative feelings toward another person. If we don't forgive others, it separates us from God. Unforgiveness is our obligation, since Christ forgave us. It is at the epicenter of how the enemy trips us up in this life. 

In the video we watched this week, about those people who were seeing God do astounding things in and around them in response to prayer, the speaker said there were two things he felt were important to remember when praying. The first was to pray with a sincerely repentive heart. The second was to pray and ask what is on God's heart to do.

In light of how deep and wide the subject of prayer is, I think that is well stated. –Just talk to God sincerely and seek what it is He would have you do and say. 

We live in a very, "me-centered" world. When we step outside of that we find that God has so much more for us to be part of, when we make it about Him.

One haunting verse in the Bible that often comes to mind in relation to prayer is this:Often we don't see God move on our behalf, because we don't ask. And when we do ask we don't receive because we have wrong motives.  James 4: 2-3 

On this earth I am at least going to ask God for things that I feel He puts on my heart. It is up to Him how He will respond. 

One of the most frequent things I hear people say to me about prayer, is that they don't know what to say to God. 

JQ and I have spent too many years around people who prayed loud and long and seemed to really have all the right words to say. Read here to see what God has to say about that kind of praying?

That isn't how we pray at all.  In fact, I love to listen to my husbands earnest words that are sincere and often few. I believe it's his heart speaking, that moves the heart of God. 

God honors prayer that seek what His will is. 

Prayer isn't marking off a list of wants, needs and desires. It is more of a pouring out of our hearts honestly to God about the things that come to my mind, filtered through our souls. And when we lay them all out there for Him, we can walk away knowing that the Lord has heard us and will somehow be moving in and through those things to further His Kingdom and for His glory.

When we pray, we enter the battle on behalf of those we are praying for. 

Volumes of books have been written on prayer, yet mostly we just need to do it more. 

Prayer is the one thing I can do that will live beyond my life here on earth. Seeing how God answers prayer and moves through prayer has increased my love and faith in Him. The more I pray, the more I pray.

If I could encourage you today in one thing, it would be to talk to God throughout today. He doesn't need empty memorized words. He wants your heart to speak to Him.

Ask Him where He is moving? 

Where can you join Him?  

Don't worry about the words. Just submit your heart to Him and see what He does.

I'm praying earnestly for you.

What could happen in this world, if we all made prayer a theme in our lives?

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© Rhonda Quaney