I feel like that the Lord has taken me on a prayer revolution in the last twelve months or so. Never before in my life have I viewed prayer as an essential component of the Christian life that needs to be done and should be enjoyed. That’s right enjoyed. To be honest (and I really hate to say this) I think I have viewed prayer subconsciously as a necessary “evil.”
In other words I knew that I needed to pray so I did. I prayed because without it I knew things wouldn’t get accomplished. I prayed because my Daddy told me to pray. I prayed because it was one of those spiritual disciplines (like crunches for the soul) that I had to do if I was going to get spiritually fit.
To exacerbate all this for most of my life I have read quotes from godly, monk-ish dudes like Martin Luther (the Protestant reformer not the civil rights champion) that went something like “I pray for three hours a day unless I am busy, then I pray four.” Thanks Martin, can I have a side of guilt with my shame sandwich? After reading stuff like that for most of my life I have, probably like you, felt like I didn’t pray enough. When the subject of prayer came up conviction rose in my soul like bile in my throat.
For me prayer has always been a duty, a responsibility but never, and again I say this to my shame, a passion. But God has really been changing that over the last year.
For the first time in my life prayer has been fun. Well maybe that’s not the exact right word but it’s pretty darn close. God has been moving in my heart to help me realize the joy of intercession, praise, confession and supplication.
How has this translated into my life? Well for one I pray a lot more and most of it’s spontaneous prayers in my soul. God wakes me up in the middle of the night and I find myself praying for two minute, ten minute, even 30 minutes slots (sorry Martin Luther, guess I’m not ready to hang with the big dawg four hour prayer warrior former monk crowd yet.) And I find myself wanting to getaway to pray. For me that means walking.
I love to walk and pray…and yes I can do both at the same time. It’s during these prayer walks where I do my spiritual heavy lifting from intercession (praying for others) and supplication (asking for stuff.) Do I need to pray even more? Yes. But here’s the kicker…I really do want to pray more, not out of obligation but because I really enjoy praying!
What did I do to get in such a place of enjoying prayer? I wish I could give you three simple steps but I can’t. It was the Lord who has been taking Dare 2 Share through a time of intense financial trial who has, somewhere along the way, made my prayers for provision for D2S into a personal prayer revolution. God continues to provide for Dare 2 Share every step along the way (sometimes just in the nick of time) and God continues to reshape my prayer life in powerful ways.
He has also brought into my life some powerful prayer warriors (you know who you are) who have shown me that prayer should be a more of a thrill ride that we get to go on than a big pill that we have to swallow. I thank God for these examples of true prayer warrior-ness in my life.
I want more.
If you want more too the only advice I have for you is this: ask God for two things. First of all ask Him to bring people into your life who, not only know how to pray, but love praying. They will be an example to you of what enjoying God through prayer is all about. Secondly, and this is a hard one, ask God to give you some intense trial that will force you to your knees in prayer. When the trial strikes you like a hurricane on the Texas coast beg Him to turn your prayers for deliverance into a passion for communing with God Himself.
Oh yeah, and read a lot of the Psalms.
David’s passion for God expressed itself in a passion for prayer. Psalms (which were mostly just rhymy prayers set to music) drip with the dew of an extended time in the garden of prayer with the Gardener of the soul. In David’s prayers his sin was pruned and his soul was cultivated. It was during his times of intense trials that His roots grew deep in God and his branches flourished with the petals of multi-colored praise.
I want more.
“Lord show us all how to enjoy communing with you through prayer on earth right now like we will enjoy communing with you face to face someday in heaven. Enable us to look at prayer as a joy not a duty, as a thrill, not a drudgery and as a privilege not a responsibility. Use the trials that weigh heavy on our backs to drive us to our knees in utter dependence on You. And while on our knees may we feel the happiness of sensing that burden roll away. But may we not get up just quite yet. May we linger without that burden in Your presence just to pray some more, not because we must but because we must. Lord, teach us to pray.”
Pray on…and enjoy every minute of it.