Can we talk prayer?
We hear the constant suggestion to pray about ‘it’. No matter what the ‘it’ might be. ‘It’ might be the color of a pair of pants, ‘it’ might be your health. But every preacher will tell you to pray. Ok. I get that prayer is needed, but some of us do not pray for every single mundane thing out there. I have often wondered if maybe my prayers were on the petty side. After reading and studying Jesus’ prayers, yep they were petty.
When I was a kid, I prayed for the home life to be calmer. I can remember as young as 4 or 5 praying to God. I did not really understand Jesus. But I knew there was a God. Funny, no one told me there was a God, no one shared. So, I would say my prayers and ask God to make me good so that my father would be nice to everyone. Then my prayers turned to help me do good in school, so I would not get into trouble. My prayers changed as my maturity developed. Not talking Christian maturity here. I am talking bodily.
Even as my body matured I was able to mature in faith. I went to church and learned who God and Jesus are. Being told to pray, but not really how to pray. I listened to the men in church pray. I thought that those were to be my example. Pray that God had his presence in the service; pray for the prayer requests; pray for blessings. Pray for this or that. Ending with thanks for Your blessings. Or in Jesus’ name Amen.
Then here I am in my half century mark and I start reading more about prayers in the Bible. Yes, better late than never. What did I find? — Those prayers are ‘conversations’. Yes, conversations!
They are affirmations to who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are to you.
One of the most important examples of how to pray is in Matthew 5. Verses 5, 6 and 7 tell us to pray in private, “a closet”, and to not use “vain repetitions”. Then the verses 9 to 15 is what we call the “Lord’s prayer”. But remember He was instructing us on how to pray! It is not His prayer alone; it is an example of how we should be praying. As in verse 8, He tells us that “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”
Then in the old testament, I Samuel chapter one, we have an example of a woman [Hannah] praying. Her answer to her husband was, “no…I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: … but have poured out my soul before the Lord.” Then in Ezra we have an example of a prayer of confession and embarrassment. Chapter 9 starting in verse 5, “I fell upon my knees … and said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee …” Then we have Daniel’s pray in Chapter 9. Verse 3 says to look at God, “I set my face unto the Lord, to seek by prayer and supplication…”. On to verse 4, “I prayed …. and made my confession…”
Back to the petty praying. “I want, I need, why can’t I get an answer?” Admit it – our prayers sound more like that. But heck, doesn’t God know our needs? We read in Romans chapter 8 about the Spirit. The Spirit is our Intercessor. Verse 26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for …”
Prayer goes back to God knowing us in the womb. God knows our needs before we do. So why waste our time and chance to praise Him, [our chance to have conversations with Him], with requests for ourselves? He tells us to concern ourselves with others’ needs. Now I am not saying don’t pray for yourself ever. I am saying do not be petty with those prayers. If you get nothing out of this then get this: If we know God, if we are a child of His, He knows our needs. Then don’t forget to converse with him, never-ceasing.