Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's the Point? (Prayer, #1)

Prayer. Sometimes it sounds like a chore, sometimes an entrance requirement for something or other. Some of the prayer I hear sounds like people are using it as a weapon against something, or a way to beat up others who don't agree with their ideas, or a way to impress others with their spiritual depth.

If you believe in this God who is all-knowing anyway, why bother praying? I mean, after all, if he knows what you're gonna say before you say it, what's the point? You could be boring God by saying it all. You could be irritating him by letting your thoughts wander, or by using wrong grammar or being disorganized in your request list. What if he only listens to glib talkers, or the deeply introspective, or the dramatic? Or those who haven't sinned yet today?

Does God have an emotional need to hear from us, or maybe he forgets we're still here unless we make noise? I don't think so. Then prayer is more for us than for God. He sees us wherever we are. We're the ones who don't see him. He doesn't need us, but we sure 'nuff need him.

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, got to talk to God all the time, face to face. Then of course they decided they'd grown up and didn't need him anymore, and the whole human experience went downhill, fast, from there.

I think one of the important parts of prayer -- and there are many -- is to be reminded that I don't know it all. Psalm 25:4-5 says it this way: "Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me."

Prayer gives me a chance to admit that there's a lot of stuff in life -- okay, all of it -- that I can't do, and need his help to accomplish. For that matter, even to know which thing to be working on, let alone how to do it. To admit to God, not just to myself, that I need him and always will. (Now, he already knows that, but it helps me to face the fact that I do.)

For a lot more perspectives on prayer, I recommend Philip Yancey's excellent book Prayer: Does it Make any Difference?

What is it that you need to admit to God today? He know you're there, he knows what's on your mind, and he's listening. What's more, he loves hearing from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment