Is your prayer life boring and uneventful? Does spending time in God’s presence seem more like staring at the ceiling than talking to Him? I have known some people to stare at a spot on the ceiling when praying as if God himself was staring back. For some, prayer is more about checking off a spiritual obligation than a time of refreshing.
This means of grace always seems to be at the bottom of our to-do list . . . and we can always find something else to add. It is unfortunate that for some, prayer is more repetitious “parrot talk” than sincere conversation. The only time many believers offer heartfelt supplication is when they are in a heap of trouble.
The reason for praying is to get an answer and commune with God. Are your prayers pretty much a waste of time because you do not see results? Bottom line: Would you rather do anything else other than pray?
REAL TALK INSTEAD OF PARROT TALK
A key prayer principle to be aware of is that God initiates our most powerful and productive prayers. He works in us to will and to act according to his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). How does God initiate a conversation with us? Sometimes He initiates a conversation by putting a question in our minds about an event, a person, or something we have heard and we ponder it in our spirit.
We may listen to a sermon or Bible lesson and are curious if what was ministered really works. Sometimes stuff happens and nobody seems to understand, and you feel that only God can grasp the gravity of your situation. A Scripture may drop in our heart that causes us to reflect, or we feel a strong desire to read a specific biblical passage. This urge will stay with us for days, nagging and demanding our immediate attention. In both of these cases, guess what? God has dialed our number, the telephone is ringing and we would be rude not to answer.
Our conversation can never be more meaningful than when we are curious or when we are on a quest. Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7). All of these actions are sparked by curiosity or a person on a quest. Inquiring minds want answers and people on a quest are driven. It is the Holy Spirit that births the desire to ask, seek and knock on doors.
Sometimes God initiates a conversation by our circumstances. Many times, He allows things to get totally out of control and our adversity drives us to our knees. It is then that He has our undivided attention for this needed conversation. A dead giveaway is when you approach the throne with an issue and God changes the subject and wants to talk about something else. Or, He chooses to answer something else that’s completely different from what you were petitioning.
Are you noticing anything yet or seeing any patterns? It is far more important to hear what God is saying as He already knows what you need.
You may have thought that all your prayers were initiated by you, but this is not the case. Truth be told, most of the prayers that we initiate are fleshly – not according to his will, and sometimes downright selfish. Being alert to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and realizing when God has initiated a conversation with us is the first step toward moving away from ineffective intercession.
The most powerful thing I can share with you is that prayer is a cyclic activity. When a piece of this cycle is missing, prayer tends to be laborious and powerless tedium instead of refreshing and empowering renewal. When the cycle is not followed in order, we find ourselves either staring at the ceiling, or wiping saliva as we awake from a refreshing nap, or monitoring the clock to make sure we have prayed long enough.
What is the cycle of prayer? It is a very simple practice that, if you follow it, will put your prayer life on steroids. Most Christian start at the end of the loop and THAT is the reason why prayer is such boring monotony.
Next week, the rest of the story.