I have mentioned before that over the past 12 months God has taught me the power of prayer. As a result I have being trying to focus more time and energy into my prayer life. While trying to put an emphasis on prayer I have learned a few simple things.
1. Talking about praying is not the same as praying. It is easy to talk about my prayer life and how I need to pray more. Honestly, that really gains me nothing. Saying “I’ll pray for you” is not the same as praying for you. Writing on Facebook, “Praying for you” is not the same as actually praying.
2. Talking about prayer requests is not the same as praying. Hearing someone ask for prayer, receiving a prayer list on Sunday or being on an email prayer team is not the same as praying. My fear is that most of what we call prayer is actually gossip. Do you want to hear prayer requests so that you have information or so that you can actually pray?
3. I don’t need to pray for the other people in the room to hear. Public prayer scares me. I say this because I do it frequently and I hear it even more. I often have to ask the prayers I ask are really prayers or preaching. I know I can find myself praying something like, “I pray these people will take what I just said seriously.” Now, am I asking God something or am I trying to emphasize the importance of my sermon? I really hear people do this when dealing with children. They will pray something like, “Help these children to behave and be nice today.” Is that praying to God?
4. I don’t need to pray about prayer. Recently I have noticed how many times that myself and others actually pray about prayer. “I thank you God that I can pray to you.” Then after all my platitudes about prayer I never actually pray about anything.
5. Prayer is coming before God. He knows me. He loves me. He wants me to thank, ask and seek in His presence. Would my prayers sound different if I was the only one in the room? Would my prayers sound different if I just spoke to God directly? What is really on my heart when I pray?
I want to be a praying person. I want to be a part of a praying Church. I want to experience the power of prayer as an individual and as a community. I think for that to happen we need to grow in our prayer life. I hope these thoughts will help you today.