The stream of life has many currents upon which the soul is carried. Friendship, love, social interaction, career, and entertainment are but to mention a few. Some currents carry the soul on placid ripples, while other waves beat against it with the intent of turning it toward submission. The Christian is to realize that both can lead to either salvation or condemnation. Gentleness can result in destruction just as sure as adversity can restrain from harm. Therefore, live each day and pray for the heart to discern.
“Pray constantly” —I Thessalonians 5:17
Pray For Clarity
To do what another person suggests merely because he or she suggests it is to give up the privilege and responsibility of making up one’s own mind. It is to cease thinking as an individual, but yet retain responsibility for the result. It is to abandon a portion of one’s own uniqueness.
Let us, therefore, strive for our own mind as the Spirit gives us to think. Pray for clarity of thought and wisdom in decision.
You Can’t Channel God
Some teach that God is a source of power which people can learn to channel into self if the correct means are applied or the right technique taught. Prayer, for instance, becomes a conduit for tapping into and receiving this power. God is a vast reserve of compliant energy which is controlled at our command. Such a use of power is to assume that God can be manipulated or subjugated no differently than the way we master nature for our own personal betterment.
Contrary to all of this, the Bible teaches us that peace, power, and victory over life flow from the acceptance of our limitations, and out of our confessing that our wants and wishes are, at best, self-absorbed, misdirected, and blind. Prayer is the pouring out of our smallness before the greatness of God. A humble heart is what is required by God, not techniques or mechanics.
Prayer is often answered not by God giving us what we desire, but by bringing our desires into line with His will. We may pray to have our burden lightened, and in response He gives us strength to bear it. We may pray to escape conflict, but He will give us the energy and intelligence to win over it. The blessings which we see as necessary are often not in our own best interest.
It would appear, that for God, victory in conflict is better than freedom from it, and strength to endure is of more value than relief from the burden. Perhaps God’s great lesson is this: To know peace at the center of a storm is of greater blessing than being lifted above it.
“…nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” Matthew 26:39
Just the repeating of words does not make a prayer. Whether it is a petition coming from our own thinking, or the saying of something written by another, there must also be a sincerity, a glow coming from the heart, a passion of the spirit to touch God. Unless our whole self is poured out with the words, and presents our life at the feet of God, we have not truly prayed.
Modern communication is a true marvel of technology. Instantaneous contact between persons on different continents makes it possible to engage in conversation with anyone in the world. Yet as marvelous as this is, what is it when compared with the ability of a human to speak with the Creator of Eternity — the fact that the heart and soul of any person may communicate with Divine Grace Himself?
Through leagues of unmeasured space comes the blessed communication between Christ and the Christian soul. And this greatest of wonders comes free of charge.
Pray Christ’s Promises
The Christian must call upon Jesus in every time of trouble — whenever confusion and pain control the body and the soul. Do not hesitate to ask for what is needed to deliver the body or the spirit from it’s struggle.
Yet the Christian must know this: Christ may pretend not to hear. He may scold, even chide on account of our unworthiness, and our own conscience may confirm the truth.
But also never forget this: Do not leave and quit praying. Our faith, and Christ’s grace, are not based upon our being worthy, but rather upon His promises.
So let this be your prayer - the promises of Christ. Continue in that prayer. Christ cannot contradict Himself. He will give you what you need — He has promised.
“If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” -John 14:14
“Ask, and it will be given you” — Matthew 7:7
The Heart Of Prayer
The way that prayer works, and the power that it contains, are blessed mysteries to the Christian. We cannot set boundaries on it. We cannot ascribe definitions to it. It is a power which is found and known no where else. So totally unknown to us is the fullness of prayer that we become afraid or skeptical of it.
Yet this same mystery is the basis of our hope; for the promises abound throughout the scriptures that if we pray earnestly and without ceasing, God will hear us and be with us. —And is not His presence the true heart of all our prayers?
Pray For Discontent
The Christian life is, by nature, one of quenchless thirst and insatiable appetite. There exists a constant discontent that drives the heart and soul on a never-ending quest. Yet, too many Christians become satisfied with both who they are and what they know.
Though it may sound like a contradiction, pray for discontent. With all the infinite possibilities of spiritual life that lie spread out before us, we must not be satisfied with who we are at any given time in life.
Prayer V. Desire
Many people believe that prayer is only answered when they receive that which is prayed for. But what if what is being prayed for is not in line with what God wants? Should He give us what we ask for even though it is against His order? If God were to do that then He would be guilty of breaking His own laws.
The purpose of prayer is to bring about our submission to a stronger power — not God’s submission to our desires.
“Seek the Lord, and his strength.” I Chronicles 16:11