A few weeks ago I was listening to Steve Brown on the KeyLife radio program. (He's the guy with the voice
that makes God jealous.) He was talking about prayer and how he was asked by some people to write a book on prayer. He looked
at their library and saw several books by prominent writers and asked why he was being asked to write with all these things
these experts were saying. He was told that these writers were experts. They wanted a non-expert to write.
non-expert is now writing. I am writing also out of my own lack. I will admit prayer is not as much a focus for me as it should
be and I find this with several guys. I personally think it's because we're more action-oriented and talking doesn't make
us feel like we're doing anything and we wonder if it has any effect.
Our college has had two prayer rooms during my
attendance. The first was a good-looking room but it was also next to where our college radio station broadcasted. That was
a mistake as I would be lying on the pews up there several times and could hear the thumping of music.
But now we have
a new one. I recall being in a class nearby it once several months ago when we were discussing where to put the folders we
had to turn in. Someone recommended the prayer room and then someone else said "But what if someone's in it?" To my sadness,
the place broke out in laughter.
That stuck with me. Someone in the prayer room would be a shock. Now I go there regularly
but many times I've turned away because I've noticed people aren't in there for prayer. People are in there for a class project
or something of that matter to discuss. Maybe we're turning a house of prayer into a den of thieves.
But what do I
recommend though for when you do get to where you can pray? Well I first recommend a comfortable posture that you can easily
pray in. God won't be impressed by your being a contortionist. I personally prefer lying down on the ground. With a steel
rod in my back, it can be hard to bend knees. I even have shoes that zip instead of tie because of my back condition. It makes
things a lot easier.
I also personally remove my watch and cover up any nearby clocks when I pray. Well if I pray in-between
class how do I know when to go? Good question. I set an alarm also. This also helps if you fear you'll fall asleep when you
pray which can happen at times. I personally think you can sometimes get into the presence of God and be so comfortable that
you'll drift into sleep.
Now what do you say? You say what you mean. Listen. Don't try to hide from God. He already
knows. If your life is going great now then praise God and let him know. On the other hand, if life is miserable and you want
to rip the head off of the next person that smiles and says "How are you doing?" let him know that as well.
are infatuated with love for him, let him know that. If, on the other hand, the pendulum has swung the other way and you are
downright furious with him, let him know. He's a big God. He can take it. He knows it anyway and honesty is the cornerstone
of a good relationship.
Don't try to fancy up your prayers. Just speak naturally. You won't be heard for many words.
Don't think more spiritual prayers are long prayers either. Dwight L. Moody is once said to have ended a long sermon somewhere
and went back to his hotel room and said. "Lord. I'm tired. Amen."
Remember who you're praying to also. There was
a heresy in the church called Patripassianism where it was said that the Father died on the cross through the Son. We sometimes
slip this out in our prayers where we pray to the Father and then think him for dying on the cross. Each member of the Trinity
has different jobs in salvation and creation. We must remember that.
As for your needs, if you get to them. Give them.
Tell God how you feel about them. I don't usually pray anymore that God's will be done but that whatever will give God the
most glory be done. Sometimes if you've got someone who's sick for instance, God might get more glory if they're not healed
because some people will see how you handle suffering and want what you have. I've heard stories of people accepting Christ
after seeing how Christians dealt with suffering.
Try not to be afraid. Give a healthy respect but not fear. We can
boldly approach the throne of grace now. We can walk right into that courtroom because we know we belong there now and that
the judge wants to hear from us because he loves us and cares for us.
After all, Peter doesn't say "Cast all your anxiety
on him and he'll care for you." But he says "Because he cares for you." What's the difference? Peter gives the command first.
"Cast ALL your anxiety," and then he gives the reason, "Because he cares for you." That God cares for you is the reason you
can give him all your anxiety.
And if you don't get to supplications, that's fine. I don't follow any set formulae
with prayer really. I don't go through an A-C-T-S or anything like that. I just speak as the words come to my mind. If I have
something to confess, I confess. If I have something to give thanks for, I give thanks. If I have a need, I give it. If I
want to adore, I adore.
Many times at work for instance I've seen fire trucks and ambulances go by while I'm out in
the parking lot. I often stop and enter a prayer but I don't go "Lord. I adore you for who you are. I confess that I am a
wretched sinner in need of your grace. I want to thank you for the job I have and....." No. I just say something like, "Lord.
Please guide that vehicle to its destination safely and may all work out to your glory."
In fact, there have been private
prayers when I have started adoring and never gotten to supplications. Some articles have been written based on insights that
come to mind when I pray and really focus on who God is. That's something to adore God for as well. Not just for what he does
but for who he is. Thank him for being eternal, omniscient, merciful, Triune, and all his other attributes. Each one is vastly
And lastly, though it is hard, do it. Just pray. I believe it's like talking to a member of the opposite
sex or speaking before a crowd. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.