Do you ever feel that prayer is like leftovers – it’s the thing you have the day after the real meal is over? The extras.
Prayer is often the: ‘I’ll do it later’ – after the kids go to bed – when there is time – if I have a free minute.
I’ve noticed in my over 45 years of church attendance, that prayer associated events are not always the most popular events. They are perhaps less attended than more social church events – like, say potlucks.
Prayers seem like leftovers. Less important.
If the church were a high school popularity contest, I think prayer meetings might be the chess club. For special people – a little more serious (i.e. religious), not too well attended.
Bible Study would be higher on the popularity ladder. At least, they do serve coffee and treats there.
My experience with prayer, for many years probably looked like the title of the popular book – “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster.
Discipline would have been the best description of my prayer life.
Focused – forced – prayer.
I knew prayer was important, and that God answered prayers, but I did not experience peace or joy with the doing of it.
My view of prayer changed a number of years ago, after joining a school prayer group. The small Christian school our daughters attended, required parents commit to so many volunteer hours. As a non-creative, non-party planner mom who worked, I chose the weekly Mom’s In Touch prayer meeting to put my time in.
It was one of the less popular functions on the school agenda, and there was usually only 4 moms, or so, out of a school with 300 students. It was there I met several prayer warriors, moms like me, who had something I wanted – a vibrant, alive faith.
As I prayed alongside them, for our children, I felt ushered into the very throne-room of God. I was awed as I met God in a new way – through prayer – but prayer centered on God’s character and nature – praying through the Word. Claiming God’s promises in His word for the day to day concerns we were facing.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8
That is what happened to me during those one hour prayer times. I tasted God’s goodness.
I was served a meal – and, trust me, it wasn’t left-overs!
It was the living and active Word of God, revealing Himself, showing me He was and is good. He was and is trustworthy, and heard my small cries.
My prayer life changed. Now, I go to prayer like a hungry child, ready for a meal. A full meal. Ready to have my needs fed.
I am nourished through prayer. I pray first thing in the morning because I want to. It is probably the most important thing I accomplish in a day.
Oswald Chambers has said: “When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life.”
Focused time with God. Feeding on His truths. Realigning myself, my wants my concerns with His ways. “Thy will be done” is the cry of my heart many days.
My daughters are in college, so I’m no longer in Moms In Touch meetings. I’m growing my prayer life in new ways. I’ve been stretched and blessed greatly by the Stormie O’Martian “Praying for Your Adult Children” and “Praying for Your Husband” books. She helps me grow my prayers bigger than I can do on my own. I’m OK with that.
What is important isn’t the exact prayer, but that I come. Ready. Eager. To taste and see that God is truly good.
I would challenge each of us to take a second look at our view of prayer. Is it just leftovers, or is it a feast at a beautifully prepared table?
I think perhaps we should consider changing up our daily meal plans. Put prayer back as a main dish.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”