Sunday, January 25, 2009

Picture Perfect Prayer

How does prayer work?

This question has baffled me for years, and remains the most confusing, yet important question in my life. I have gone back and forth hundreds of times and continue to struggle with this seemingly simple question. God even gave us an instructional video of what a prayer is supposed to look like to "Our Father in heaven" in Matthew 6. But I still don't get it. Check out these promises: "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you" Matthew 7:7. "He replied, 'Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you'" Matthew 17:20.

How does a Christian take ahold of these promises?

Here's a clip of a message I sent to Kayla about what I know about prayer.

"Ok... Prayer... definitely something that we learn and get better at. I think it's one of the neatest things we do because it's a mixture of talking to someone who wants to be your best friend and your Creator. You can be both intimate and yet scared of Him. It's really cool! I don't think you need to worry about which "way" to pray. Just pray like He's your best friend, but remember He could kill you at a moments notice if He wanted. He's the greatest person in the universe, but loves you like a daughter! It's awesome that way.

"As for "doing things you enjoy" together. Think of some of the things you enjoy... How bout in this scenario we'll talk about something I do for fun. I love to run down a hill as fast as I can and feel the wind hit my whole body. I love that feeling, and when I do it, I can't help but get excited about the sun, the wind, the laws of physics that God set in place, the feeling in my gut as I go down, all things He created. I think about the feeling of joy that I get and know that God created joy so that I could feel it. He made joy for my pleasure. How cool is He? You can do anything with Him. Anything that you think is fun, just draw it back to Him. I like to play basketball, and I think about how God made me so that I could play. He allowed us to invent basketball. I also do the things I'm not good at with him. I'm terrible at chess, so when I play chess, and lose, I think that God made people who are good at this stupid game. I don't know why... it's such a stupid and frustrating game, but God made people with a mind that works this way, that can do this math and plan their moves out in advance. What a cool gift to have. God made people that way. So no matter what I do, I can do it with Him if I intentionally draw a line to Him. And when I do that, I grow to love Him more. Does that make sense?"

Prayer is the most amazing privelege we have as Christians. There is so much intimacy and realness.

But then there is still those pesky promises. I want to believe them, but I don't know how. God answers and doesn't answer. He is absolutely unpredictable. It's so frustrating. I'm tired of all the standard answers. How does a person really connect with God and take hold of His promises. That is my question for today.


abb said...

I think you hit on the fact that it takes faith. And I personally think that faith takes trust. And that trust takes relationship. And relationship -- true relationship with the type of God that we serve -- well, that takes faith. And that's how the circle starts up again and never ends.

In my mind, it's almost like a snowball that builds upon itself as it gains momentum. It's always coming round and round: faith, trust, relationship, faith, trust, relationship, etc.

A.J. said...

i think really connecting with God is connecting with the riskiness that you talked about. his promises are just that, HIS promises. they are for us but he is the only one who gets to know exactly what they mean and when and how he shall apply them. they seem slippery and situational and i think that God, while being consistent and rock-like, also has a slippery and situational side. there are the things he makes almost absolutely clear like how to know Jesus in an important way that begins our connection with him. at some point though, we run into the parts that are confusing, crazy, and challenge our faith and concept of who he is. i think connecting with him is choosing to still know him and stay with him even when he takes us to the slippery places! are not those who really love us the ones who stay even when we're messy?