Friday, August 16, 2013

Prayer Fuel

When I opened Faceboook tonight this topped the list:
Question: How do you build up a prayer life? There is power in prayer, and I have seen it. But how do I get to the point of praying without feeling like it might be wasting my time or that it is boring?

And it sat. Empty. Hours later. And I wanted to respond, but in many ways I couldn't. How many times have I tried the prayer pie, evangelism list, church list, homemade spreadsheet and failed? How many scraps of paper and missionary photos shout out prayer as they fall from my over-stuffed Bible?

Admittedly, each day has scheduled prayer, but to determine to pray--and stay praying--for an extended time? That's hard. I sat convicted. I need more. I need more of God's focus and character. And I was convicted by how easily I move into busy-ness and to-do lists instead of lingering and waiting and listening...just because. Because God is that awesome. Because I need Him. Because He is worthy.

And that is the greatest answer to the question, "how do I get to the point of praying without feeling like it might be wasting my time or that it is boring?" Prayer grows with my knowledge of God. The better I know Him--personally, intimately--and believe He knows me, the more I pray. Making prayer a priority means I love Him more than I love myself; I am willing to give up my agenda for His. And the more I know Him, the more I need Him; the more I need Him, the more I pray--until I realize I can't move or go or do or step out into life without the umbilical cord of prayer running between us. Without Him there is no purpose, no love, no hope, no joy, no peace. No life to step into.

And that is what I wanted to write--that prayer is breathing. Prayer is walking through the day talking with God in the garden of my heart. Prayer is crying out in distress, bursting forth with joy, questioning in confusion. Prayer is seeking and waiting and longing and finding. Prayer is knowing who Jesus really is and connecting with the fact that "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" and knowing that some of those things come from sorrow. Many are impossible. Experiencing life with or without all thing requires truth and patience and grace. But He is: the man of sorrows; the God of the impossible, full of truth and grace. And He is enough. That's where prayer ends... and begins. Every time. He is enough.

He is enough when I wake from the dew of slumber. He is enough when rain pours through the roof. He is enough when babies arrive blue and grandmothers fly to His arms. He is enough when supper burns and children hurt; when life is cruel and mothers melt. He is enough when meteors fall and moons rise. And that is what fuels prayer: knowing I cannot take another step, move another inch, enjoy another moment of grace apart from His intermingling presence of power and grace.

And to think He gave us the privilege of prayer through the cross. What a God!

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

William M. Scriven, 1855


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I am sorry, Val, that you do not believe Jesus is the only Son of God; that He died for your sin and rose again three days later; that He will come again to judge the quick and the dead. Please contact me personally if you have questions I might be able to answer. Prayerfully, sydney

  3. "Making prayer a priority means I love Him more than I love myself; I am willing to give up my agenda for His."

    This. I recently read a time management guru who said we should try saying 'X is not a priority for me' instead of 'I don't have time for X'; then, we will be more truthful and see how we're really using our time.

    But to say "Prayer is not a priority for me" instead of "I don't have time to pray"? That is hard. Convicting. And definitely makes me take stock and seek change.

    Thank you for doing hard, Sydney; you are a blessing to me.

  4. Thank you for your honesty as well, my friend. And thank you for the encouragement. As we sow words and deeds that come "super-naturally" we reap benefits of the same! May God continue to fuel and bless your endurance.


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