There are certain reactions that most human beings will never appreciate. I like to believe that human beings are quite sensitive, even if, not everyone likes to show such side. One reaction that I am quite certain that you and I will never appreciate is getting the ‘Oh! that’s a big lie’ spill out from the mouth of a person you had just spent 180 seconds of your time, telling him/her something that happened; and being certain of telling the truth as you know it and as it is, but still, you are still called a ‘big, fat liar’.
One reaction that I have learnt to appreciate on a daily basis, is the ‘Huh?? reaction’. I will explain.
So you are approached by a friend, and he/she asks you for advice on the choice of a job offer. Two excellent roles. With bonuses and commissions. Great locations. Great team member; and the great perks of the jobs are endless. You ask this friend of yours: ‘Chris, have you prayed about them [the job offers]?’ Lo and Behold, Chris gives you the ‘huh? response; and if it so happens that you are speaking face to face, the addition of a ‘Are you for real’ facial expression will be one to remember.
Speaking out of experience, the above reaction is gradually becoming a norm. So I asked myself, is there a gauge for what should be prayed about/for; and what should not? Why has the have you prayed about it question become one that makes the person asking, too spiritual?
There are different definitions and aspects to prayer, but I will like to simply say that prayer is an act of drawing closer to God in fellowship, friendship and trust. I believe this simple definition is broad enough to accomodate the intercessory, warfare, petition types of prayers. But why has this intimate, special and powerful act become the strangest or most difficult to perform….
- Legalism– the world is wired in a way that rules are in place for order to exist. I see no problem with rules, but you see with prayer, there are no hard and fast rules. I have heard statements of how the Luke 11 format has to be followed or else, your prayer is deficient. Don’t get me wrong, the Luke 11 format is very significant, but it is deeper than just setting a formula to be followed. Or is it the if you are not screaming your lungs out, your prayers are cold, they are not going past the roof. The thing about legalism is that, it wears out. 2 Cor 3:17 reminds us that when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it!.. In other words, in the presence of God, there is liberty. I do not have to pray like Dr. B does, before my prayers will be recognized by God. I do not have to pray for 1 hour in the morning, for my prayers to be real. What of the remaining 23 hours in the day, what happens then? There is nothing wrong with spending an hour praying in the morning; my point is, if the reason you spend that hour praying is because it will make you feel more spiritual than your neighbour that spends 20 minutes in the money, then we need to do a serious check up. If you read the story of the Pharisee and the tax man in Luke 18, you will recount that the words of the Pharisee were triple the words of the tax man, therefore, more time was spent by the Pharisee. [Personal Analysis] And Jesus made us understand that the tax man went home made right with God.
- Fear of the manner of answer– this can be likened to lack of trust, but there is a twist to the lack of trust. Have you ever asked God for something, and He answers but you feel there’s a way He should have answered it, that would have been ‘easier’ i.e your way. I am 100% guilty, folks. As I learn and grow in God, by His grace, I have learnt to pray about E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I dialogue with God about my hair. Matthew 10 makes me understand that He cares so much that even when strand of my hair drops, God knows. Sometime last year, I asked God for a fuller, thick hair. I did not really like that when I retouched my hair, it became so small, and when my hair was due for a retouch, it was thick out of overgrowth. Believe me, God answered the prayer, but I did not realise I had the answer to my prayer because the answer did not come in the way I anticipated and had planned it out. It only just dawned on me recently. So now I know one integral principle about prayer, when you ask God for something- leave it with Him, don’t go imagining and planning how you feel He should answer. Instead, ask Him for grace to be sensitive to the answer, and grace to handle the answer. Trust in God is faith without borders. Be sure to know that if the answer does not come like you envisioned, He has already released grace to carry on.
- The timing of the answer- in light of the example of the job offers I used above. Let’s say, PA is currently jobless, landlord is ready to put him on the streets, the phone company has taken his name to the debt collector company, family back home cannot understand why you should be outside your home country and cannot be sending some cool foreign currency. PA has prayed and there doesn’t seem to be a loud or still voice. The time is now is now or never; and PB is blasting ‘God is always on time’ to his hearing. Most times, we feel that an answer that does not come at our expected time is a late answer. But this is a lie. We should know our God. His way is perfect. Psalm 18:30. So if the reason for not praying is because we feel that God will delay, there is a huge probability of building a self-made storm.
- Sin– Isaiah 59:1-2 says Look! Listen! God’s arm is not amputated- he can still save. God’s ears are not stopped up- he can still hear. There is nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you. Your wrongheaded lives cause the split between you and God. Your sins got between you so that he doesn’t hear. One thing is constant about sin- it takes us away from God. When in sin, the devil is on fire accusing the sinner of the sin committed, thereby, there isn’t any boldness to come before God to pray. But this should not be the case, Hebrews 4:15-16 makes us understand that We don’t have a priest who is out of ouch withour reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all- all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. The reality is that when we sin, the devil is on call to make us feel we cannot approach God, but that’s not the case, we are come to God in humility, accept the help and repent. Remember, nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God. But, we do not continue in sin, for grace to abound. God forbid!
There is something intimate about prayer. It is powerful yet simple. I have tasted of the splendour of the freedom in communing with God through prayer, and I do not want you to be left out. Pray about everything- what you want to wear, buy, say, do. Pray about your hair, your finger, the sickness, the failure, the successes, the disbelief, the unsaved friend, the job, the car…E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Nothing is too logical to be prayed for/about. Pray! Pray!! Pray!!! PRAY ALL THE TIME. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Please add to my list. Why do you think people stop praying, or feel somethings should not be prayed for or about?
Have an amazing week.
Missed my last post?
P.S All bible passages are from the Message Version.