The discipline of prayer

A bold newspaper headline on the religion page of a major newspaper announced the title of a new sermon series by a well known pastor.  The title stated, “Prayer:  How to Get Things from God.”  I beg to differ with that approach to prayer.  Prayer when rightly exercised is a means of spending time with God.  Spending time with God allows us to share our hearts and to wait reflectively for God to guide our thoughts.  We are certainly free to express our needs and hopes, but we should do so as a by product of understanding the nature and character of God.  When prayer is most effective, God moves into our minds and hearts and is allowed to express himself in the context of our lives.  Prayer additionally allows us to search the mind and heart of God as we are guided by the Scriptures and by the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit makes known to us a heavenly perspective on earthly circumstances.  This kind of praying can never be a quick “Christmas wish list” that we present to God.  It takes time in conversational prayer coupled with times of listening, searching the Scriptures for direction, and paying careful attention for God’s answers in the course of our lives as we move in and out of the place of prayer.  Getting things from God will not be nearly so valuable as the transforming power of time in God’s presence.  That is why it is a discipline.  It is almost like spiritual aerobics.  The God who makes all things new produces renewal in the hearts and lives of those who practice the discipline of prayer.

Dan Wooldridge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.