In the last several days, I have been involved in compiling a prayer journal for our churches in Africa. This involved putting together the many Praise points and Prayer requests from different Pastor’s in the region. It was an interesting task that left me with the following three lessons on prayer:
- Praying is not only asking
We have this as the biggest misconception on prayers. In most cases, we approach God with a long list of needs! We think praying involves just asking, and asking and asking! We then eagerly wait for answers. We see God as an ATM Machine that we go to and ask for instant cash.
In a powerful prayer of Jesus as recorded by Evangelist John in chapter 17, we see Him not only asking from God but thanking God, Praying for others and adoring God.
In the only ‘How’ that Jesus taught his disciples, “How to pray” he taught them Lord’s Prayer that comprises of Adoration, Confession and supplication hence showing that praying is not only asking.
2. Prayers is not about the length
Jesus when talking of Prayers said that it is not the many words that make us be heard by God. In the Gospel of Jesus according to Matthew, the great teacher says;
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” Matthew 6:7 (ESV)
We are mostly unmanned by those fearsome stories of the great pray-ers like Marin Luther who would say that in a very busy day, he spends only the first three hours in prayer. When we think of this, we sometimes condemn ourselves. We tend to think praying is about many words hence miss the point.
We sometimes fall in temptation to repeatedly utter some phrases at a certain tempo and lie to ourselves that we are praying. We struggle in making our prayers sound ‘churchy and theologically attractive.’ We fail to learn from the earnest and hearty prayers in Psalms. We see people who would say what is in their hearts, and would constantly interrupt their own petitions to speak of Lord’s faithfulness and kindness.
3. Praying at all times
We tend to make prayer an activity. We set certain times for prayers. Then proudly say; Tick, Done, Finished! It is at these set times we experience a hyper spiritual feeling. Michael Reeves in his book, Enjoy Your Prayer Life reminds us that each day is already all God’s and thus we need to fellowship with Him all the time, all day long.
Tim Chester in his small book on Everyday Gospel notes that we can make even our sink in the kitchen a holy place, always in fellowship with our father even when we are washing dishes or doing the small and ordinary daily activities.
Prayer, John Calvin notes, doesn’t have to be a duty to be performed, but is rather a gift to be enjoyed. It is the most central of all Spiritual Disciplines since it brings us to a communion with our father.
In conclusion, let’s keeping exercising our faith when we pray. Learning to enjoy what Jesus has always enjoyed.
About Kenneth Irungu
Ken is an Apprentice with iServe Africa serving at DOVE Christian Fellowship Kawangware, Nairobi.
He is Passionate of Gospel service and Faithful Bible Teaching.