Saturday, August 27, 2011

Do You Treat Prayer Like God Is Your Genie in a Bottle?

Whenever I take the kids to school, they know the first thing we do in the truck is to pray. It helps to focus our attention on the things that matter and not on the drama that has just previously unfolded in our home. One morning, Pearce had a little difficulty. I had prayed for each one in my family, and Erin had prayed. There was a long pause, and Erin said, "Pearce, it's your turn." Pearce snarled back at her, "I KNOW, ERIN." His prayer didn't go much better. Pearce is known for thanking God for his momma and daddy and every dog that has come into his life, but he either manages to leave Erin off his prayer list or she comes AFTER the dogs. Today not only was she after the dogs, but his comment was, "And God, be with my miserable sister, Erin!" Before drama could unfold I reminded Erin that Pearce was having a conversation with God, and I think God could take him.

Sometimes we wonder why if feels like our prayers don't get past the ceiling, but if we were to examine our hearts and attitudes toward God and prayer and the subject matter, we might understand better. James 5:16 tells us to, "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." It's not the prayer that changes things. It's the heart of the person praying to an Almighty God. God is the One who changes things based on the person doing the praying.Lately, I've found myself praying all kinds of prayers. God has this way of teaching me a lesson before I teach it, so when someone asks me where do I get my material, I tell them, "God taught it to me."
While I was preparing this week, several quotes came across my path that I would like to share. Hopefully, they will provoke you to think about your own prayer life like they did mine.
  1. "What if you woke this morning with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?" Christine Williams
  2. When I think of prayer I think of…
  3. When I think of my prayer life I feel…
In a book I'm reading for seminary, I read, "Purpose of prayer is to get to know God while we worship and make our requests. Primary focus is on the relationship with God."
How often to you treat prayer as the lamp that holds your personal genie? Dear God, I really need __________. Dear God, I really want _____________. No, "hello." No, "How have you been?" No, "Thank you, God!" No, "God, you are so _______."
Have you ever had a friend or family member that the only time they call you is to ask for something? You are being that kind of person to God if the only time you pray is when you need or want something. How is your relationship with that needy person? Do you try to avoid their calls? Do you deny their requests? Just something to think about.

I like the fact that the author of this book encourages us to worship God first. Why is that? Because when we worship God first, it put our focus on Him. We will be seeking His will and His desires for us. When we start with worship, it reminds us of just how unworthy and unholy we are which leads us to a time of confession.Have you ever wondered why we are to confess our sins to God if we are already Christians? I have. Think of it like this. Have you ever had a friend or loved one do or say something that was egregious to you? Did it offend you? Were you hurt by it? Before your relationships could be restored, someone needed to apologize. When we confess our sins as God's children, we are restoring our relationship with our Father.

This week, I encourage you to praise and worship God first and foremost in your prayer time. It doesn't have to be singing. It can be just simply praising God for who He is to you. He is the Alpha and Omega! He is the lover of my soul! Praise Him. Worship Him. Confess to Him your sins, so your heart will be right with Him. Then make your petitions known to Him.I will also encourage you to journal your prayers. They are wonderful to go back and read at a later time.

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