Wednesday's Word: PRAY prayer, family, quiet time, bible, jesus, prayer time, devotions

“Time to pray!” My voice would echo down our hallway and then down into the basement, as I would attempt to gather our sons for our evening prayer time. Soon all five boys would make their way to the living room, sometimes pushing one another for a specific chair, other times snuggling with each other on the couch, while the little ones piled on their big brother’s laps. Upon getting settled, it would get figured out who would pray first, and then the process of all seven us praying would begin. The first would pray, and when they would finish, instead of saying “amen” they would say, “pass it on to….” and say someone else’s name. It was a little game in the midst of our prayers, I suppose. With a fifteen-year age spread between the oldest  and youngest brother, this “game” brought joy into our prayer time, as the little ones would sometimes forget who had prayed and call on someone who had already prayed. With some laughter and “He already prayed!” a new name would be called. 

Prayer is one of those pieces in my relationship with Jesus that I don’t begin to understand. I have studied it. I have read books about it. I know there are between 300-700 times in the bible where prayer is mentioned (depending on version of bible). And yet, it still mystifies me. I am far from understanding why some of my prayers are answered in the way I desire, and others are still being laid before Him, as I wait for His response. I am far from knowing why one person receives healing and another doesn’t.  I have more questions than answers, and yet, I do know this; I know I serve a God who has provided prayer as a means for intimate communication with God, Himself! I know that because of His death and resurrection, I have a Holy Spirit who resides within me, and can intercede on my behalf when I don’t even know the words to pray. I know I serve a Savior who is available 24/7 for me to speak to Him. Isn’t that cool! Perhaps the most important reminder for me, is that I serve a God who instructs me to pray. Prayer isn’t intended to be an optional part of my faith; it is to be a cornerstone of my relationship with my God. How can I build a stronger and deeper relationship with my Savior, if I don’t spend time communicating with Him? I can’t; it is impossible to build a relationship with someone if we don’t speak with one another. 

Although I don’t understand every aspect of prayer, I do know it is my lifeline in my relationship with my God. It’s as an important piece of my relationship with Him, as breathing is to living. I pray today that you take some time, sit in His presence, and have a conversation with Him. It’s alright if you don’t know where to start. Just start talking, sharing with Him your thoughts about your day, your dreams, your concerns, your gratitude. He’s listening, and He will meet you right where you are today. The quote below by Max Lucado is a beautiful way of describing this teaching. (Let me know if you have questions about how to get started on your relationship with Jesus and your prayer time.)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6-7

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference." - Max Lucado

"True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice." - Billy Graham

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