Today the act of prayer was heavy on my mind.
I heard the worship leader when he read a prayer concerning why people worshiped before the he sang. I heard the pastor talk about all the people that needed prayed for. I heard the Elders report on the state of the church and how it needed prayer. Every detail that was supposed to be told to the group, I heard, like I do every time I come to service.
Then I heard it all again during the actual prayer. This time, more eloquently. Better adjectives, more proof texting, and a few “amens” sprinkled in from the masses. It was a complete rehash of all we’d talked about but wrapped up pretty with a spiritual bow
Maybe this is just the intellectual in me spoiling the beautiful by over thinking it, but, after over thinking it, I decided that God, since I was pretty sure he was in attendance the whole time, probably heard it all of it before this point through. This made me wonder who the prayer was for? Was it for God, who already knew everything we needed before we even asked? Or was it for us, who needed to be told things in eloquent displays to be sure it was worth our time?
I’m not contesting that prayer is important and powerful. It’s a direct gateway to our creator who knows the inner most secrets and desire of our hearts. But, if that’s the case, why can’t we just say, “Dear Lord, you’re God, you’re awesome, you heard all this and know more about us than we do, we now freely give it up to you and ask your will be done?” I mean, who are we to tell the infinite God of the universe how to handle his business, or that how we think he should handle ours?
I think about how Paul told us to pray without ceasing and I wonder how on earth that happens? How do you get through like with your head bowed, constantly uttering prayers out that are robust in spiritual hyperbole. LIttle Wendy is playing with matches and you’re supposed to what, spring board off that and ask God to take his burning spiritual fire to light the hearts of the masses in China? Amen.
Is it okay for me to think that way? I feel like I’m missing something because I know we are also completely justified in asking God for personal things. LIke healing or love or mercy and so on. I mean, I prayed for a wife for a long time…. a long time. I still pray for my parents. I’ve had people lay hands on my shoulder before I went into surgery. I pray that I will stop battling depression daily. And yet, here I am scoffing at these grandiose prayers that remind God of who he is, after we’ve, well, just reminded him of who he is.
When I really stop to think of who God is, my prayers become shorter and my silence becomes longer. Though I know that God want’s me to come to him with my requests. He is the God of selfless love, the God who comforts the broken and downtrodden. We can come to him with anything. So, is it a measure of what God is when we come before him, or is it a measure of our faith when we come before him? Or does it even matter as long as we are coming before him?
I’ve heard it said that real prayer takes place in the heart before any words are even spoken. When you think about it, you have to agree that words to an infinite, all-knowing God are kind moot anyway. I wonder if it’s the desire of the heart willingly reigned in and disciplined by soul that thirsts for and recognizes God that matters most? If so, then I guess that person, the one who constantly aligns himself in reverence to God, is the one capable of constant prayer.