G & F Episode 3: A Life of Prayer
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This week we’re talking about living a life of prayer. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to rejoice in the Lord always and to pray without ceasing, saying that this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5: 16-18). He tells the Philippians to not be anxious about anything, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4: 4-6 ESV) Luke records the Lord Himself instructing us to pray without ceasing in His parable of the unjust judge. He contrasts the judge with our loving Father saying, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”” (Luke 18: 6-8 ESV)
A life of prayer is intimately attached to that question Jesus asked. When He returns, will He find faith on earth? Will there be anyone left who trusts God enough to continue to rejoice in Him regardless of circumstances and continue to make all their needs known to Him, like a child who depends completely on his Father? God-willing there will be, because Jesus told us that unless we become like children, we will not see the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 18: 3).
If we want to see God’s Kingdom come, and His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, we must become like children. Children have a way of making their needs known. Constantly saying, “mom can I have this, dad can we go there, mom I want this, dad I need that.” Constantly! Children have no sense of cost. They don’t understand that there isn’t always time for things. Because they’re kids. All they know is that they have a need, and mom and dad are their only source to fulfill that need. So, they ask.
They ask because they have to. Until they find that they can start doing things on their own. Once they discover that they have greater independence, they are less likely to ask and more likely to try for themselves. Inevitably, as the child gets older and more able, he or she becomes decreasingly aware that their entire life is lived under the umbrella of mom and dad’s provision. They learn to cook their own meals, so they forget that it was their parents who provided the ingredients and taught them the skills. They can dress themselves and wash their own clothes, so they forget that the clothes were placed in their closets for them, and the washer and dryer purchased for them, by their parents. The more they are able to do, the less and less they realize that whatever it is they can do, whatever they have to do it with, it first came through the loving provision of mom and dad. And the less they realize that the less they ask.
This pattern is also seen among Christ’s disciples. When we are in a place of dire need, we call out to God for help. But once we get a handle on things there’s no need to phone home anymore. Thanks Father, we have it from here.
But it isn’t just that we forget our infinite need for God in all things that stands in the way of us living a life of constant prayer. Sometimes it’s just not natural for us. Many of us have lived lives that have caused us to internalize everything. We’ve learned to quiet our mouths lest we be ridiculed or disregarded. We don’t even know what it’s like to have a say. And if people have a hard time valuing our input, how will the Almighty have any care for what we have to say? It makes sense to just wait on those times of really great need to call on Him since He does the heavy lifting.
And that’s part of the beauty of what Jesus says to us regarding the need to become a child. Young children don’t have an intricate parentology yet. They don’t contextualize life based off of past traumas. All they know is they have needs. They know they’re hungry, or tired, or uncomfortable, or scared, or excited. And they know who mom and dad are and that they are the ones who meet those needs. Simple childlike faith in mom and dad. So, they ask.
So, how then does this perspective help us live a life of prayer? The first thing is to recognize something so obvious that we have a tendency to overlook it. We will never graduate to a place where we don’t need God. Ever. For anything. ANYTHING. I remember an online post I read once that said, “my friend asked if you need the Holy Spirit to go to Heaven. Girl you need the Holy Spirit to go to Walmart.” Too true!
With that in mind, you ALWAYS have a reason to pray. You always have a reason to talk to God. What’s on your mind? What are you excited about? What are you worried about? What are you thinking about? Instead of thinking it, share it with your Father in Heaven. He knows you. He’s God. But giving of yourself freely through constant prayer enriches YOUR connection to Him.
I believe our prayer life is meant to be the kind that is so genuine that we would be embarrassed for our Christian friends to hear it. What do I mean? The things that children share with parents are intimate and silly and expose quirks about the kids that they may not otherwise share with friends. That’s how our prayer life should be. Why not? It’s a line of communication between us and our Heavenly Father, isn’t it?
Are you hungry? Ask for food. Are you lonely? Ask Him for a friend. Are there dreams you hope to accomplish? Share those with Him. Are you insecure about something? Let Him know. Don’t let your so-called theology get in the way of genuine prayer. Don’t let your doctrine or the doctrine of others serve as an obstacle. Stop calculating God’s response. Stop trying to figure out if it’s a worthy prayer. Just share yourself with Him in prayer. Turn and become like a child. Let Him be your Father!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4: 4-7 CSB).
For more on how to live a life of prayer, check out the podcast. I provide more examples of prayer and share how God has used those prayers to shape me. You can also check out the FB Group or follow us on IG. No matter what, don’t get discouraged. God hears you, and He is listening to answer your prayers.
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