Chapter 8: Be Faithful in Prayer
Be Faithful in Prayer
So, how should I present one of my favorite topics? I guess with the story of when a leader asked me to speak at a pastoral convention he hosted.
I had two main points—both carrying many points within them. One slide of the screen said this: Praying is all we are doing. The other slide said this: Praying whatever else we are doing.
That is what I talked about. And that is how I have learned, and continue learning, to—as this chapter says presenting a third idea from Romans 12:12—“Be faithful in prayer.”
But let’s start here. What is prayer, really? This common subject in Christianity, this often stated and emphasized theme, this topic crammed in books and conferences and sermons, what is it? Prayer, in my opinion, isn’t follow- ing a typical formula or stating well-rehearsed phrases. It isn’t depending on enthusiasm or tradition. It isn’t legalistic or boring. The leader said, “Chris, do not condemn us for not praying enough. Remind us why prayer is important, but in an encouraging and practical way. I want these leaders to begin praying like they never have before—but not because of guilt or crisis or attempting to do a business deal with God.”
I loved his challenge. So, I started the talk with these questions. When I say the word “music,” what do you mentally hear? When I write the word “sports,” what do you mentally see? When I type the word “breakfast,” what do you mentally taste?
We talked about each one, discussing old songs and recent ball games and scrambled eggs. One guy sang a few lines. One guy still argued a bad call by an umpire, as two friends sat at the same table debating which team should really be ranked first. One guy told us to stop talking about food because he was already hungry. But they got the point. A word can bring reminders to how many ways it is applied. Rock or classic, baseball or basketball, cereal or omelet? Then I moved to the word we all wanted to learn how to live.
When I etch the word “prayer,” what do you imagine?
Prayer! That one word is what I believe can bring a strange, wonderful, calming, healing, and joyful step in our adventure toward equilibrium. Many methods, styles, tones, and practices, prayer is often misunderstood. We present it as too complicated or too simple, too impossible or too habitual, too repetitive or too redundant. We feel so guilty for not praying enough that we are reluctant to pray at all. We feel so frustrated for not knowing the right way to pray that we fail to try praying any way at all.
I talked about how we talk to each other. We state comments, we ask questions, we listen, we sit, we wait.
I talked about how we spend time with those we love. We eat meals together and watch movies together and laugh together and cry together and solve problems together.
That helped us learn how we can lean on many uneven surfaces and still become faithful in prayer.
For me, it has become a life. For me, it continues becoming a life.
For you, I want it to become that. For you, I want you to hear Father God calling you to communicate to Him in honest ways. I want you to know God’s Spirit is within you and around you as you think and process the craziness of this uneven world. I want you to sense your Messiah and your Mentor walking with you through all of life’s surfaces and keeping you joyfully fulfilled even when out of balance.
Find the equilibrium through prayer.
- How are you doing with being joyful in hope?
- How are you doing with being patient in affliction?
- How are you doing with being faithful in prayer?
- Do you have a healthy and biblical view of prayer?
- What are ways you become better at praying in a specific time and place?
- What are ways you can develop a mindset of praying no matter what else you’re doing?