background img

Just Another Article on Prayer … blah, blah, blah (sigh)

3 months ago written by

Before you turn the page to see what else is in this issue of LIGHT + LIFE, consider hearing me out. What role does prayer play in your life? What answers to prayer have been etched into the story of your life? What miracles have been released in the rippling wake of your praying? If prayer was the measure of your devotion to the Lord, how deep and rich would your devotion be? Before we respond to just another article on prayer with a sigh, rolling eyes, a cold shoulder and exchanging listening for tuning out, we might want to pause and let these questions sink deep inside of us.

Jesus used the principle of repetitive questions with Peter when he needed to be restored following his denial of Christ. Three times, and with great intentionality like a hammer drill, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Here’s three questions for all of us regarding prayer. Let them sink in. Insist on answering each one truthfully before saying, “Blah, blah, blah. Whatever.” Let them work on you and in you. Ready?

Why don’t you pray more?

Why don’t you pray more?

Why don’t you pray more?

These aren’t trick questions. They don’t require serious insight into the original Greek or Hebrew. A 60-minute, passionate sermon isn’t necessary. Did you answer them? Should you go back and reread them?

The lack of prayer in contemporary Christianity is a big deal. Equally as troublesome is the multiplicity of activities we call prayer that are not true prayer. While we tend to focus on sins of commission (the bad things we do), we tend to forget about sins of omission (the best things we leave behind). In other words, you’re not truly spiritually “safe” just because you keep yourself free from the big-ticket, cardinal sins. The depths of God that we refuse to dive into are a bigger sin-stain than we realize.

What awakening and revival have been delayed because of our lack of prayer? What prayers are not heard on high because of misguided motives and blatant selfishness? Who have been left in their lost states because we’ve not cried out to God day and night for their souls?

In today’s politically charged climate, I’m hearing political agendas enter our praying. Is this pleasing to the Father? Has anyone even thought to ask, or do we just assume that He is obligated to hear every word that comes from our mouth? Are we praying out of the mind of Christ or our own? There’s more to this “prayer thing” than we realize. When it comes to praying beyond the politics, we need praying people who pray as if seated with Christ “in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6). We need to pray with the mind of Christ and speak what the Spirit is whispering in our ear no matter who is offended. Have we turned away from the voice of the Spirit because even He has become too offensive for today’s sophisticated ears?

And how do we pray for people? Are church prayer chains functioning as they should, engaging actual prayer, or do they simply offer those who want to be “in the know” a channel for information about the misfortune of others? Do we pray for surface symptoms or deep needs? Do we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the deep need and pray in accord with what we hear, or do we pass the buck back to God by saying, “Your will be done”?

Real prayer, true prayer, prayer that is rooted in the mind of Christ, prayer that is informed by the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, prayer that is specific, prayer that is birthed from holy hearts … this is the kind of praying needed today.

I invite you to see prayer for the amazing, mystifying, powerful, partnering, relational, Spirit-engaging, anointing-releasing, kingdom-of-God-coming-to-earth, soul-saving, deliverance-releasing thing that it truly is. If we catch a vision for true prayer, we’ll never be the same. We will change. Our praying will change. The world will change. And you and I will stop worrying about sins of commission because the power of prayer — the thing we omitted — will grasp us at such depths we won’t even contemplate the temptations toward sin, let alone the acts of sin. We’ll be too busy bringing the kingdom of God to earth to worry about the devil. We’ll be so involved with Jesus, destroying the works of the devil, that he won’t be able to work in us any longer. We’ll be so personally challenged and changed by being in the presence of God, that we’ll be ruined, humbled and transformed.

Is this just another article about prayer?

What will you do?

Before you and I pray another “Your will be done” prayer for another person, let’s pray it over ourselves. In fact, let’s do it three times like at the beginning of this article. Better yet, let’s stand before a mirror and pray this prayer with great humility, surrender and submission.

Lord, Your will be done in me.

Lord, Your will be done in me.

Lord, Your will be done in me.

Lord Jesus, Lord of the Church and King of the Universe, eradicate prayerlessness in us. Show us the most excellent way of partnering with You to see Your Kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven. We present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You, God. We ask You to have Your way in us. Make us a people of prayer that Your light may shine brightly in a divisive age. Unite our hearts with Yours and align our minds with Yours. Reveal to us, through the conviction of Your Holy Spirit, the best things we have omitted, and call us out from our sin into obedience. We repent before You and say, “Yes, we will be a people of prayer.” We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Brett D. Heintzman is the publisher of LIGHT + LIFE through his role as the communications director of the Free Methodist Church – USA, which he also serves as the associate director of the National Prayer Ministry. More of his insights on prayer can be found in his new book, “Becoming a Person of Prayer,” which can be ordered at freemethodistbooks.com.

1
Article Tags:
Article Categories:
[Openers] · God · L + L September 2019 · Magazine