(#2) I've Learned... That If You're Going To Pray, You Might As Well Be Honest. He Knows Already, Anyway...
Growing up in church, I must admit I've heard all kinds of prayers.
Wordy prayers. Short prayers. Prayers that were full of heart, and prayers that lacked luster and thought.. Prayers full of scripture, and prayers full of drama. Prayers of faith, anxious prayers, and prayers that I just simply could not understand... another case of the deacon and his lost dentures? ...Perhaps.
And I didn't have to "grow up in church" to not be guilty myself, of all the prayers above.. I learned early on that prayer can be intimidating - even "boring" and ritualistic if I make the mistake of removing it from it's most simple purpose.. if by adding any undue pressures like.. the thought of impressing God, I completely miss the beautiful point of it all. It's so easy to say all the right things, and create a monologue out of what should be a dialogue. It's easy to throw mindless words to the sky and hope God extends His arm to catch them... but is it effective... would it even be worth my while?
Prayer is my ongoing conversation with God...a very personal, daily exchange with my creator.
***I don't have to impress Him or hide anything because He knows it all. I don't have to make anything sound better than it is. I don't have to convince God I've got things all under control. I don't have to go to Him wondering if He'd like to hear from me. I don't have to fill a time limit nor am I restricted to 5 minutes per day. I have unlimited access to my God to be as vulnerable, and truthful, and honest as I so desire. And as busy as I may think God is, my time allotment with Him is uncapped. He can handle my meat when others can barely drink my milk. He can search out and shine light on the hidden things in me - He'll change my mind about some things if I set my heart to listen when He talks back. I might as well lay it all out there... If I'm going to get on my knees, I might as well make the most of it... I might as well say "thanks," again.. He deserves that and more...effectually, affectionately, fervently.. more. ...I'm talking to the only One who is capable of carrying me and keeping me, leading and guiding me, protecting and perfecting me. ...I might as well settle down and listen closely. I might as well soak in the rest that comes from having an audience with the Creator of all things seen and unseen.. I'm a serious work in progress, but one thing I'm learning is -- if I'm going to pray.. I might as well... pray.
How do you take advantage of your time with God?
Pick a special place - a closet, your bedside, your car, your place, any place, where you can go to meet God, purposely. Pick a place that is carved out just for Him. Make it your secret place where He knows He can find you. Go there.
Keep going there...
"Be still and know that I am God.."
"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."
James 5:16 (b)
"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them."
Psalm 145:18-19"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!"
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."
"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
"In the day when I cried, Thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul."
Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face, continually.
1 Chronicles 16:11
"But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you"
"When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again."
"Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." Ecclesiastes 5:2
"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin.."
Matthew 6:27 - 28
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known"
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."