In a meeting with some of our student leaders yesterday, the topic of prayer came up. What is prayer? How do you or should you pray? They said this is something people don’t know very much about, and I agree. (It’s not something I feel like an expert about either.) As I was reading this morning, I came across a couple places where Jesus talks to his disciples about prayer.
Luke 18:7 – “Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night?” (Click here to read the whole chapter.)
Matthew 18:19 – “I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you.” (Click here to read the whole chapter.)
In both of these passages, Jesus talks about the importance of communication with God from the human side. In Matthew, he talks about asking the Father for things. In Luke, he talks about crying out to God for justice and says that God will provide it. In both cases in these stories, humans initiate this connection to God through prayer.
Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I don’t do a very good job of initiating a prayer conversation with God very often. (I guess if I can’t be honest about my prayer life as a pastor, who else can be honest about it, huh?) I don’t really ask for things, and I don’t really “cry out” unless it’s an extreme circumstance. I regularly try to listen to God through reading Scripture, listening to music, and journaling, but I rarely set aside time to simply pray. Sometimes I wonder if this is caused by a lack of faith on my part: do I really trust that God will answer? Do I really believe that God is listening? Sometimes I know it’s because I don’t take the time out of my day to have a conversation with God. I’m “too busy,” and too plugged in to the world around me to disconnect for a few minutes to pray.
These things need to change. How can I learn to trust God with my prayer if I don’t entrust God with my prayers? I’ll never know if God is listening if I never say anything. How can I disconnect from the world in order to pray if I don’t intentionally unplug? I’ll never have time to pray if I never make time to pray. These things must change for me, and I need to be intentional about making them change. If they don’t change for me, how can I expect them to change for anyone else?