Prayer and Shoulds

Yesterday, we heard a sermon on prayer. I really like the speaker who spoke, but I thought we got hit way too hard. I agree that we should pray and we ought to pray, but there were several shoulds and I’m of the opinion that we got knocked down several times and there was never grace to pick us up again.

I’ll go on and confess that prayer is one of those things that I have a hard time with. I can imagine easily that I’m not alone. For those of us here in America, it seems we get up, go to work, come home, and at the end of the day we’re just too exhausted. Running the rat race keeps us perpetually busy.

This leads us to a misconception I think though. Time. It seems that we think the time spent in prayer is equal to the quality of the prayer. Yet when I look at the Lord’s prayer, it is a very short prayer. Many of the Psalms are quite short. You can say them easily and memorize them easily.

If we think we need to spend an hour in prayer for instance, I think we’re burdening ourselves. If you can do that, great. I’m not condemning that. I’m just saying prayer doesn’t become more holy because you do it for X number of minutes. If that was the case, then we should never stop.

Also, we can’t compare it with other activities. If the value we give to something was determined by the time we give it, then it would seem that sleep and work are the most valuable things to us, yet to many of us, those are not the most valuable things. Those are things we do so we can do other things. (While we can pray on our jobs, most of us can’t pray while we’re asleep I’m wagering.)

Instead, I think of how we are to pray without ceasing many our minds should be directed towards God. We should always have a submission in our attitude towards Christ and seeking to be more like him and looking at the world and trying to find the way to bring about the glory of God. We are to pray his kingdom come. Are we doing something to advance that kingdom?

I’m also going to say this to the men. This is our hurdle. I think generally speaking, we men are more action oriented and we don’t consider prayer an action. We consider it like peace talks. Men. We don’t usually like peace talks either. We’d prefer to go out there and bash some skulls in instead.

We need to learn that prayer is action. It’s asking the aid of the most awesome being of all. This is something that irks me. When people say praying for someone is the least they can do, I always wonder about that. You’re asking the Lord of Heaven and Earth to intervene and that’s the least you can do?

So as for me, my prayer life isn’t the best. I’ll confess that. It’s hard to make time. I think we need to encourage prayer, but we need to do so remembering who we are. We are sinners who are telling other sinners where we found bread, and most of us could use a lot of bread.

Support Deeper Waters on Patreon!