Can we be honest? We treat prayer like Harry Potter is treated by his aunt and uncle. Sure he may be good, but keep it locked away under the staircase only to be brought out to serve our own desires and become angry when it is not to our liking. We often don’t think about prayer. We don’t devote time to it. Some of us do not even know how to pray.
Tim Keller in his book, Prayer, defines prayer as both an encounter and conversation with the God of the universe. How amazing is it that we have God almighty on speed dial at any time? Donald Whitney asks a great question in his book, Praying the Bible: “since prayer is talking with God, why don’t people pray more?" Most often it is because our conversations with God become boring, repetitive, surface level, small talk. It’s going to meet the Chancellor of the University and only talking about the weather week after week. No, my brother and sister! There is so much more of which we should delight to take to the Lord in prayer. Much to adore in him. Much to ask him. Much to confess. Much to give thanks for. But if you need a helping hand in praying this semester, here are a few ways we want to help you.
1. Pray With Others
Do not neglect the sweet privilege it is to pray with others. Even Jesus saw the value of this as he goes to Gethsemane in Matthew 26. See his dismay when he sees his disciples sleeping rather than praying with him. Praying with one another allows us to be built up in confidence and prayer. Simple prayers prayed together are powerful. Consider coming to our weekly Prayer Gatherings on Tuesdays at 2:30pm in the BCM. Come pray with us as we pray over our campus, the BCM, and the world.
2. Pray For Others
It is okay to pray for yourself. As of matter of fact, a lot of your prayers will have to do with your faults, feelings, and future. Usually, we do not have to tell others to pray for themselves. But you should pray for others by name. Pray for me, Cole, Talon, Logan, Ms. Carolyn, your pastors, your friends, family, or whoever. I recommend the Echo app to you. In this app, you can literally make a list of 10, 30, or 365 people/things to be reminded to pray for every day. It’s never an issue that we have no one to pray for, only that we have not loved them enough to pray for them. 3. Pray With David & Paul
Praying the scriptures is a great way to deepen our spiritual life. The Psalms offer many ways we can pray for a variety of issues and circumstances. Paul literally records prayers in his letters. If you do not have a good grasp on the discipline of reading your Bible and praying, I recommend coming to our Spiritual Disciplines Master Class taught by Talon Brandon this semester, and if you want a starting point, try taking time to pray Colossians 1:9-14 once a day, every day this semester. 4. Pray When You Don’t Feel Like It
I don’t always want to pray. It’s a horrible truth to tell, but sometimes I rather turn to YouTube, Instagram, or Netflix than turn to God. When I am frustrated, bored, happy, or whatever, there are many times I do not want to pray. I’m sure this is the same for you. We seek distractions from the world instead of conversing with the Creator of the world. Even when we do not feel like praying, it is at that very moment we need to pray. Maybe that’s how you start it, by confessing, “I really do not want to pray right now.” Just speaking that to the Lord can begin to do a great work in your spirit. 5. Pray Like it Matters
John Bunyun in his book, also called Prayer, states that we often pray as if God is not listening and that nothing will ever change. I want to to encourage you: prayer changes things. If you don’t believe me, check out Acts 12 and Acts 16. Both record prayers that literally set Peter and Paul free from prison. To be fair, answered prayer does not often come with angelic beings and earthquakes. Nevertheless, I challenge you to record what you pray for in a journal or on the Echo app. I guarantee that you will see that God subtly but truly answers prayers.
Now all of this is set before you, that you may know how and what to pray. You will literally spend hundreds of hours on class work, hundreds of hours hanging out, and hundreds more doing Lord knows what. But if you seek and savor the sweet delight of just an hour of prayer encountering our Savior, you’ll want to do it forever. This question remains to be answered though. Will you pray this semester?