December 26, 2011

Prayer: Bright Fire, Cool Water

     Do you remember your first encounter with prayer? I recall kneeling to pray restlessly. Grandma would pull us out of bed early Sunday mornings to pray with my mother and older siblings; usually around the bed of my eldest brother, who worked a previous nights’ shift. Grandmother, a very religious but mean woman, would use her lengthy audible prayers to vent and cauterize, if necessary. Then we would go to church where the old deacons would kneel before the church singing hymns and call out to GOD on behalf of us all. To my young ears, those prayers were like a bright fire, setting to flames the needs of my people. Even then I felt absorbed by a searing Holy Spirit.

   After my own children were born and Grandma had moved up, I rejoiced in teaching children to pray. We would sit in a group circle and the most timid was  encouraged to say a simple, “Amen” if nothing else. Eventually, all of the children developed a prayer posture, and an open conversation with Jesus. I am forever blessed by the sweetness children’s prayers. Still today, if you a blessed to hear a child pray, you will note prayer offered innocently, seeking the will of the Father. “Thank You Jesus for my new shoes”, “Amen”, a giggle or two, and then “LORD Jesus thank You for making my Papaw well.” “Jesus, please help my cat “Brownie” have her kittens.” “Thank you for my family and my friends.” “Jesus please make my brother share!” Oh, I tell you those prayers were like cool water for my dry, thirsty soul. I must admit that ultimately, both the fiery prayers of saintly devoted old men and the sweet fresh prayers of little unpredictable children have buoyed my faith.

   Inquire of any person on the street, what is prayer? and the answers will likely be as varied and vast as the sea; some answers surely based upon who or what the prayers are offered. When asked, those committed to prayer in Jesus’ name, often define prayer as a noun, a verb and an adjective, essential to the life of a Christian. Prayer is so much more than what we decide it must be. It is a way of life and an act of worship. It is a splendid gift and a responsive cry. Prayer defined is an entreaty, appeal or a plea, a request, desire, hope or even a wish. I submit that prayer is all that and so much more than a sinful creature deserves. It is mercy given from our Almighty GOD, Who is faithful to answer.  Yet, we forget to pray immediately, spontaneously, continuously and courageously, often believing that we can do it better. What will it take to move us away from the oppression of prayers meant to satiate our flesh and emotions to the living, breathing prayers of those who go boldly, with innocence before the throne of GOD? I am certain there is no formulaic answer to that question. However, prayer in accordance with the WORD will get us beyond where we believe we need to be. Take a chance on this challenge:  Commit to prayer more powerful and purposeful than ever before. Take some time to read and then reread the Scriptures listed below.  Journal prayers of thanksgiving, intercession and submission, then watch to see the faithfulness of GOD.

Genesis 4:26                           Exodus 4:31                            1 Kings 8:22                         1 Kings 8:45                            2 Chronicles 20:18                  Psalms 138:3                         Zechariah 13:9                        Ecclesiastes 5:2                  Matthew 6:7                          Matthew 7:7                                      Matthew 26:39                     Matthew 26:41                         Luke 18:1                               John 15:7                                Romans 8:26-27 Ephesians 6:18                     1 Timothy 2:8

 Scripture list resources:

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