1 Mar 2013
How is your praying going these days? More specifically how would you rate your prayer life if ten was represented by that fact that you cannot wait to spend three to four hours each day in conversation with your Father, and one would be represented by your desire to put praying on the bottom of a long to do list?
At different times in our lives we may find ourselves in different places on this scale. But right now, where would you place yourself on the range between one and ten? For some this evaluation must be a place of joy and thanksgiving. But for others an accurate assessment may be an act they cannot actually bring themselves to attempt. Are you anxious or even perhaps willing to take a hard look at this matter?
As you observe solid mature believers, have you noticed that few if any of these are apparently deficient in their dedication to prayer? Jesus spent most of His time on this earth communicating to mankind that to come to God in a meaningful way involves a personal relationship. Not entirely unlike our time, in Jesus’ day there was much attention given to keeping rules, but little attention given to developing and growing in an authentic personal relationship with God.
Today it seems we have a natural tendency to put working for the Lord ahead of our communication with Him. It is as if God is a cosmic boss and we must work hard to prove our worth to Him and to our friends. Hard work for the Lord seems to have a lure of making us feel like we are important to God and sometimes even to others. But hard work alone often leaves us empty when we slow down enough to reflect on the condition of our heart.
The extent of our motivation to pray is largely impacted by two factors. First is the level of desperation we sense in our need. The second is the depth of our love for our Lord. Of course if we examine the model prayer Jesus gave to His disciples we immediately recognize that we have these backward. Often our problem in prayer is that our current crisis outshines and overshadows and camouflages our need for an intimate relationship with Jesus.
When in high school I was very much in love with my not yet wife Kathy. I could hardly think of anything but her for more than a few minutes. I could talk to her for hours and often had long quiet conversations with her when she was not even around. Does this bring back memories? Could this kind of love be approaching the idea of loving with all our heart and mind and soul and strength?
If you took a serious step to evaluate your prayer life and if your evaluation landed below eight, perhaps you are suffering from the slow slippage of losing your first love? Our prayers are powerfully prodded and provoked by love. Prayer thrives and grows stronger in the context of a deep intimate relationship with Jesus. We know that we are approaching this kind of relationship when we are spending more time in prayer telling Jesus how much we love Him, how much we are thankful for His death and the blood He shed for us, and how willing we are to do anything He desires than we are calling for His help for our present predicament.
Yes, Jesus cares about our problems. He desires for us to lift up our brothers and sisters to Him in prayer. But we must take care to be controlled by His Spirit not by our self –centeredness. We must not assume that our problems or even our petitions should be the exclusive content of our communication with God.
Every relationship is built up or destroyed by the sufficiency of or the lack of communication. If we desire to build and grow in our relationship with the Lord, we must communicate constantly.
The deeper our relationship with the Lord, the more apparent will be our calling. God does have some things for us to do; we simply must come to Him first before we go. If we do this well we will get His perspectives, His purposes, and His heart embodied in every minute detail of our lives. Is this His primary purpose for prayer?