Monday, November 17, 2014

Praying is not a spiritual gift

I have always known my wife has a special thing happening when she prays. Those who know her would agree. Some have stated, in total love and appreciation, that Pam has the gift of prayer. This was stated on one occasion by a dear friend while we were with a new friend and recent convert named Abraham. Abraham made a comment that I have never forgotten. He said; “Prayer is not a gift, it is a discipline.” Now, I do not think my friends who were complementing Pam were referring to a spiritual gift (maybe they were), but I do know that Abraham was correct..

Some events have occurred recently which came to a head Sunday. I had to realize some things and come to an honest conclusion about my prayer life. First let me say that I considered my prayer life to be acceptable before God while I considered Pam’s prayer life to be extra-ordinary before God. With that said, God has placed me among some of the most powerful lay prayer warriors, right here at EBCI.

Sunday night a week ago (that night is what prompted me to write this), as in previous Sunday night prayer times, the prayers lifted before God were not limited by a wristwatch or an event someone was needing to get to. The prayers were not self-focused but a pouring out of a broken heart for others. The prayers uttered and the prayers heard did not make anyone uncomfortable (except for maybe me).  I begin to realize that Pam did not have an extra-ordinary prayer life, she had one which all Christians should have. Her prayer life ought to be an example of what is normal for a child of God to speak to their Father. One of discipline and passion that whether we stand – sit – bow – raise hands – on our knees - lying on the floor… we constantly know that we are speaking with the God of all creation and there is not to be anything which would or should detract from those moments or hours. We have nothing to fear nor anything which we cannot bring before God.

James 5:16b KJV states - The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

“Not any man’s prayer is acceptable.” – Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

I confess that too many of my prayers have been unacceptable. Though sincere, I bought the lie that “just get it before God - pray in a hurry if need be - is sufficient”… This described me and my prayer life too often. It is not to be this way.

Here are five questions I asked of myself.

1 – Have I entered into a time of prayer thinking of when it will end… when the prayer time will be over? After all, I am busy and have a lot of deadlines to meet.

2 – Have I ever made the time of prayer about me instead of about Him? After all, I have a lot of needs and requests.

3 – Have I ever not prayed because I did not have anything to say to God?

4 – Have I ever judged a fellow Christians prayer… for any reason?

5 – Do I seek more prayers for me than I pray for others?

I had to, as they say, face the music. Though it was disheartening to think how far off, even as sincere as I was, that I had wondered in what ought to be an effectual fervent prayer time

I can say God is gracious and showed me that my prayer life can greatly improve. I did ask God why He had not shown me this previously… only to be told, He had shown me. I just wasn't looking or listening when He was presenting something so much better for me. Maybe that was part of my prayer time, I just listened to what I had to say, rather than what He was saying.

No matter where your prayer life is... there is hope and opportunity for so much more of God to be experienced when you pray.

Really praying for you.

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