1997-02-05 - Prayer
The Spiritual Disciplines Series, Part 3
Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (NIV)
When you think of prayer, what do you think about? I used to think prayer is for very spiritual people, the kind who can pray eloquently in public. I believed that there was a formula -- a certain procedure -- and only one correct way to pray. In short, prayer was intimidating to me. Years ago, I heard the following true story and it changed my prayer life from that day on.
A pastor of a large church in a Midwest town received a phone call from a lady who was somewhat distraught. This lady had been taking care of her elderly father in her home for several years. Her father was unable to get out of bed, and she had to care for all his physical needs -- but he was mentally very alert. It seems the father had heard the pastor on the radio for the past several years, and had become quite fond of his teaching. The daughter told the pastor that her father wanted to meet with him, as they were unchurched and had no pastor to call upon. The pastor went to the daughter's house and was led down the hall to the father's bedroom. The kind elderly gentleman's face beamed upon meeting the pastor, as he invited him to sit down and chat. As the pastor moved toward a wooden ladderback chair to sit down, the gentleman said "Umm … sorry Pastor, no one can sit in that chair; please sit over here." The pastor thought that was odd until the man said "You see, Pastor, that chair is for Jesus. When I pray, Jesus is sitting in that chair, and we have conversations. I pray, and then I listen for the quiet, still voice of our Lord." That hit me between the eyes. Prayer is a conversation with our Lord. No fancy fluff, no rules, no boundaries -- just simple conversation.
Psa 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (NIV)
A few weeks later, the pastor received a phone call from the daughter, saying her father had died, and she asked him to serve at the funeral. As she was hanging up, she said "You know, Pastor, my dad died in a strange way. We found him kneeling down, with his head lying in that old wooden chair."
Dear Lord, thank You for being an accessible God, for allowing us Your full attention anytime, anywhere and anyplace. Thank You for inviting us to pour our hearts out to You. Lord, help us to be more faithful in our prayer lives, In Jesus' precious name we pray. Amen.