Today I want to review with my fellow bloggers about the sermon I heard at church this morning. Last week we started a series called “The Cure for the Common Cold” which is looking into a cure for those times that we lose our passion for God. Most of us Christians have had those times when we are “on fire” for God, only to be back to normal in a few short weeks or sometimes even days.
The first “Cure for the Common Cold” starts with getting reacquainted with our bibles. But Reading our Bibles is only part of the equation. It would be like only exercising your arms and never working out the rest of your body. You would look a lot like Popeye, the cartoon character. Your body would be missing out on its full potential. There are many other ways to work out our “spiritual muscles” and one of those is prayer.
Prayer has always been a vital part of the Christian faith. Not long and lengthy prayers like you might hear in a church today, but simple prayers. Early Christian monks from the 2nd and 3rd centuries would take short verses of scripture and make them into prayers that they would repeat all day long. The most famous of these early monastic prayers was the Jesus Prayer and it goes like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
They would take that short little prayer and repeat it all day long as a way to stay in constant contact with God. The reason I share that prayer is because it illustrates the simplicity of prayer. Prayer is one of the most misunderstood things today in the church. People think they have to be well educated and able to come up with poetic prayers that last for 10 minutes, but in all reality, prayer is a simple heart felt conversation with God.
But some of you may be wondering what I mean when I talk about prayer. We all come up with different pictures in our heads when we mention the word prayer, from sitting Indian style to Gregorian chants filling a huge cathedral in Europe to little kids with their hands together and head bowed.
We all face times when we are up against something that is too big for us to handle, This is just one of the times we should stop and have a conversation with God, or pray! Prayer is also misunderstood today because of the prevailing attitude that it is asking God for favors. The idea is that we ask God to bless us here, and bless us there, bless us everywhere..
Prayer is to accomplish God’s plans here on earth, not to accomplish our own plans. That does not mean that we should not pray when we have a hurt or need, but we are not to view prayer as a means to a new car or whatever we need God to do at that moment. Simply put: prayer is conversing, or communicating with God in which we align ourselves with God’s purposes. When we pray we are talking with the creator of the universe, sharing our thoughts and feelings both out loud, and in our minds. It is a dialogue, or a two-way conversation in which we talk and listen to God. Prayer is a tool we can use to further know the heart and mind of God.
Picture a phone conversation that even when you are done, you do not hang up the phone, but instead you leave it off the hook so that the conversation could begin again at any time.
I hope that you have learned what a great privilege and blessing prayer can be, and that it is a lot simpler than we make it out to be many of times. Remember to pray clean, pray in faith and pray constantly. If you have never prayed before or just need some guidance, I leave you with this quote from Thomas Merton ” The great thing is prayer. Prayer itself. If you want a life of prayer, the way to get it is by praying.. You start where you are and you deepen what you already have.”
Pray with me:
God, we thank you for the chance to talk to you. May we never take this awesome privilege for granted. I ask that you turn each of us into people of prayer. Give us the desire to pray and give us guidance for what to pray for. Help us to be able to listen and hear you clearly. We love you God. Amen.