July 28, 2020
Prayer Life: Exciting Adventure or Sleepwalking
The other day, in between tasks, I unexpectedly bumped into an old friend, who was also in between tasks. We did the superficial and obligatory greeting and banter, then went our respective ways. Not the ideal interaction, but one we both accepted based on hurriedness and other things that preoccupied our minds. The willingness to prioritize each other was not even an option.
We all have a dangerous tendency to fall into patterns that lead to staleness, complacency, and ruts in most relationships. These slowly, but effectively, sabotage our growth and relational depth with others and ourselves. We start to take others for granted and become “me” focused … instead of focusing on what is actually happening in the relationship. Basically, we are relationally lazy.
Most of us fall into this same rut with God. Our routine prayers can cover a lot of praises and petitions. However, that efficiency carries with it a danger: we can sleepwalk through our prayers. We put our relationship with God on autopilot, just as we do with our earthly relationships. Prayer sometimes only fulfills an obligation or tradition … saying “grace” before meals or bedtime. Then God Himself seems like an extra, an obligation, something to break out for special occasions, instead of a powerfully indispensable, core ingredient for daily enrichment and growth as we discussed yesterday.
As we always say, you have a choice! Make use of the massive power source within you – the Holy Spirit. Invite him to empower your prayers with life. Seek fresh ways to pray and commune with God. Think specifically of your words … why are you praying … what is your attitude … what is your expectation … are you listening for His answers? Ultimately, see God for who He is and you will become excited and intentional, just as you would be if you were meeting your favorite person, celebrity, or athlete.
Today, spend 5 minutes before you pray, just listening to the Holy Spirit talk to you and petition for you. He will start to put in your mind and heart the people and situations that need prayer. At the end of your prayer, spend 5 minutes just listening for God to show up and dialogue with you. If you drift (as I do at times), give it another try. This is how you develop your spiritual radar for God’s frequency. This will awaken your soul and powerfully enliven your relationship with Him. Whether you have rich and meaningful interactions with God, or you have shallow and superficial relational activity with God is your decision, so choose well. Your peace is dependent on it.
Dear Father, teach me how to pray to You. I love living close to You. It satisfies such deep longings in me. Prayer helps me to live close to You. However, I confess, Lord, that I have fallen into a routine with my prayers … and I struggle between being constant vs. being creative in my communication with You. Because my mind is both fallen and finite, I feel I have such limited ability to be creative in my prayers. I come to You, Lord, with thanksgiving for Your Holy Spirit. Let Your Spirit teach me how to pray in such a way that I get increasingly closer to You and am able to see Your infinite newness everyday. I ask this in the name the one who never sleepwalked through any relationship, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
And pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth. Psalm 57:10-11
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23