Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prayer and Breathing...

Glen and I were talking about prayer today and why so many Christians mention that they feel inadequate in their prayer life. I told him about a Christian that I had heard that was talking about today being the National Day of Prayer. He was telling people to set aside a certain amount of time for prayer and to have a list of things to pray for. Now these are not bad suggestions, and I myself have followed this particular method often.

However, during our conversation, it dawned on me that perhaps we feel so inadequate in our prayers because we feel like we have to do so much to prepare for prayer, and to set ourselves up to be ready to pray, that by the time we are ready, we don't have much left for prayer itself.I know that's often how it is with me.

Maybe prayer should be more like breathing, we just breathe. We don't put much thought into breathing, usually. If we are going to have natural childbirth, then of course, we spend a lot of time learning breathing techniques, and rightfully so. If we are doing certain athletic activities, we need to know certain ways of breathing. In our lives we will have times of intense and concentrated prayer, times when the burdens of our hearts are so strong we can't do anything but pray.

But for the most part, like our breathing, maybe our prayers should be more instantaneous. Whenever, where ever we are, we should just pray. No special words, no special place, just say the words to the Lord simply and plainly. After all, both the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit make intercession for us. They know what we should be saying. Perhaps we should do more with fewer words. Maybe it should be a constant flow from our minds, something that goes on even while we are doing other things.

If you watch a young mother with little children, you will see this type of thing. She may be talking to you, but she is also watching those children. She's making sure they don't get into danger or trouble. She may be feeding them or diapering them or rocking them at the same time she's cooking dinner and folding clothes AND talking to you. Maybe prayer is meant to be like that.

There are of course times when we will want to get alone to pray, and the Lord Jesus was a great example of that, frequently going alone into the mountain to pray. But just as prayer was for Him a continual flow with the Father, so perhaps we should consider our prayers more of a continual flow. So often we think nothing of using a blackberry or iphone or such to "twitter" or Facebook messages to each other throughout the day. Why do we not consider the same freedom in conversing with the Lord, sending those pertinent petitions and praises to Him throughout the day, instead of waiting for a particular time or place?

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