Prayer. We all agree that prayer is essential in the Christian life. But knowing the importance and practicing the act are two different things. In his book The Table of Inwardness, Calvin Miller talks about how we would rather do anything in place of praying. We would rather talk about or think about prayer instead of slowing our lives down and giving time to God in prayer. None of us can function effectively as a Christian without prayer. And no church can function effectively without a collective effort from the entire congregation to pray. We need to come to God in prayer, both individually and as a congregation, if we hope to see our church follow the path He has set.
When you pray are you trying to get through the formality so you can get on with other things? Do you pray quickly so you can get to dinner sooner? Do you offer up a quick praise to God before bed so sleep can come faster? Do you pray in hope that God will give you the things you want? Or do you pray to draw yourself closer to the Lord? Do you pray to hear from God in an effort to follow His plan for your life?
The old question asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer is, of course, “practice.” No one can sit at a piano and instantly be a concert pianist comfortable playing in front of thousands. It is similar with prayer. If you’re uncomfortable with prayer, practice it. You have the most appreciative audience! Go to God humbly and thank Him for the things you have received. As time goes on, as you pray more (as you practice prayer), you will get better at it. As you get better, you’ll be more comfortable with prayer. And when you’re more comfortable with prayer, you’ll pray more often and form a deeper bond with our Creator.
It can seem overwhelming thinking of all the things for which we need to pray. But don’t let that stop you from starting! The Chinese philosopher Laozi told us, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So it is with prayer. Start today with one prayer and soon you will blossom on your own journey, growing closer to Christ each step of the way.