A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Monday, October 31, 2011

What My Children Teach Me About Prayer

Prayer is a sticky area for the Christian. Theoretically and theologically we know its importance in our lives but practically we seem to have all kinds of issues getting our hands dirty.

One of our elders preached on the subject yesterday and I appreciated his approach. I learnt something from it and it provoked a series of afterthoughts.

It seems to me that our problem with prayer is not that we don't know what it is or that it is, well... commanded of us. Just like keeping up with a daily bible reading, we don't have the stomach for it.

Prayer is hard work... it takes time... it's a discipline. Jesus prayed so it's obvious we should. A no brainer. The best sermon I ever heard on prayer argued that prayer is about relationship which made a lot of sense to me at the time. It should logically be an overflower of my love for God and people. Okay. But still I don't prayer consistently or fervently.

Perhaps I'm not desperate enough. Quite possibly true.
Perhaps there's a part of me that's afraid that God will actually answer my prayer. That could be dangerous. Very craven of me.
Perhaps I just don't think prayer really makes all that much of a difference. Ouch.
And... let's try this on for size... Maybe we think we deserve the good life. God will give us everything we need anyway, right? Life is good, why bother with prayer? (An entitlelist view of things)
And perhaps... we ain't got the stamina to go the distance.

This is an area I think, I can learn from my kids.

I don't mind saying that the thing that annoys me most about children is the way they keep at you when they want something. It is highly annoying. Especially when you really don't want them to have the thing they really want to have. They scheme, they plot and they even try to play mum off against dad.
Depnding on their age, they ask and beg and nag and plead and negotiate and weep piteously. They are oblivious to the concept of "no".

They are, in short, persistent.

For 2 years, 10 year old begged us for a Nintendo DS Lite. She turned the conversation at every opportunity to the subject. Finally we agreed that if a certain thing happened, she could get one but of course, that didn't pan out in the long run because effort from her was required.

I don't think I'm saying that prayer is a presenting a Christmas list in childish fashion. But isn't it interesting that Jesus tells us to "ask", "seek" and to "knock". Obviously he knew we would have a problem doing all of the above. So much so that he used the earthy analogy of a father's relationship with his children, which is pretty telling.

Persistence in prayer is a good thing... in fact, it is so good it is commanded. But because it is hard work and because there are a million other things we do instead of prayer, persistence is a lost art as well as an oft forgotten command.

There are areas in scripture which we are called to pray about -- missions, evangelism, protection, sickness, our Lord's return, and generally for God's will to be done. Etc etc etc...

Our God wants us to pray...
So why don't we?

The next time the kiddies beg and plead and throw themselves at your feet because they want something...
be reminded of how much more we are to plead for the things that bring glory to the name of Jesus.
Things of eternal consequences.

Have a good one!

1 comment:

  1. I think your point about not being desperate enough is probably quite true. As missionaries we've been desperate about a number of things. We're often out of reach of the physical help of family and friends, we've had to rely on prayer and it's changed our perspective considerably.


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