So I was talking with a friend of mine this morning for a second about something that I’m preparing for, and he said something like ‘what are you doing to prepare’, and I was like, oh I’m coming up with a plan. He typed back one word: pray. Uhhh, yeah… that stung.
I think those who consider themselves to be Christ followers can all agree that prayer is the highest priority in our lives. Our direct communication with God. Here’s what Paul (the first great missional leader of the church) said to a young pastor, Timothy:
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. (youversion)
I also imagine if you are a Christ follower, and we’re being honest here, (and you’re anything like me), that’s probably not our highest priority – if I weigh it in the scales of everything else I have going on in life. At least that’s what it seems like for me right now, in this season of my life.
Prayer for me is about my heart. Sharing my heart with God. Having my heart softened & filled with more compassion and grace for others. Checking my motives and my desires against what God puts highest value on. It’s about being honest about who I am, a mess sometimes, well a lot of times. It’s about forgiveness, redemption, and encouragement.
Prayer for me is also about my mind. Sharing my ideas with God. Asking for direction, for affirmation, for strength, for the needs I have.
Prayer for me is about others. I rarely pray for God to heal someone, or meet a specific need. Maybe it’s my lack of faith, maybe I just don’t roll like that. I almost always pray that God would reveal himself to people through whatever situation they are going through – that’s my insight. I really believe that God allows things to happen in people’ lives in order to show them more of Him, more of his love, his grace, his forgiveness, etc.
Prayer for me is about hearing God. Louie Giglio once said something to the effect of ‘those who hear God the most, know his Word the best’. That changed my life. God has spoken. He continues to speak. He speak most clearly to me through his word, the Bible. Every time I crack it open, there’s something for me – he speaks right into my life.
I also hear God clearly through my family. I see the wonder of his love when I love those closest to me. When my wife forgives me, when my kids beg for my attention. When I pray with and for them, when I walk by their rooms at night and see them sleeping.
And lastly, I hear God through the words of others. I know, getting a little on the charismatic side of things. But sometimes something rings so true and so clear, that it must be from God. (of course I’m pretty pragmatic, so I’m not really a ‘word of faith’ person – it’s got to line up with scripture for me to take it seriously, but now we’re treading into christian culture, which is not where I want to go).
So I’m trying to reorganize a little, and re-prioritize. I’m facing issues in my life that I don’t want to face without a strong sense of God’s presence. Being a husband, a dad, a pastor, a man. It’s intense and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I just need to spend more time in prayer.