She is a very intelligent woman, she never allows a grey hair to emerge without coloring it an appropriately modern sandy blond. She dresses sharp, still cuts her own grass and makes the best coconut pie in the whole world. Others have claimed theirs is the best, but I will vouch for the fact, they don’t even come close. And for Christmas she got a smart phone that made her feel totally stupid instead of smart. She still remembers having her first phone installed in her house. It was a black, rotary dial phone that sat on an end table in the living room. The tech savvy giver gave the very intelligent, elderly lady a quick overview of the basics and sent her home to enjoy her “smartphone”.
But at home, when it rang, she couldn’t figure out how to answer it. She put on her glasses and saw a bright green flashing, “Answer” on the screen, but no matter how hard she pushed what she thought should be a button, the phone continued to ring. It was infuriating! She couldn’t even use the phone to make a call, she had no idea how to turn it on. There was nothing on the phone to push or flip, she wanted to throw it, but instead she got some advice from a five year old. Not really, but we all know tons of two years olds that understand how to operate a smart phone. Not because they are smarter, but because they aren’t afraid to try it.
It’s hard for people that are addicted to smartphones to understand that anyone wouldn’t know how to use one. We know that phones aren’t just for talking anymore. We research everything with them. We experience a plethora of sights and sounds from around the world. We store information. Interact with our friends. Check the weather. Catch up on what’s happening in the world. Send texts. Read our emails. Find restaurants. Get directions. The list is absolutely endless. Smartphone users understand the value of being connected.
And so do smart prayers, they just connect with heaven instead of the internet. They understand how to touch God’s throne instead of a phone. That elderly lady may be struggling with how to use a smartphone, but she will tell you “I pray.” She prayed her way through the great depression. She prayed her way through wars, and drought and sickness. She prayed her way through hard times as a share cropper’s wife, living in a small one roomed house with cracks in the floor big enough to see the chickens scurrying below. She prayed over her children. She prayed over big bills and tiny wages. She praised over victories and wept tear puddles over unbelieving family members. And she did more than survive, she thrived. She thrived because she knew prayer was more than talking, it was connecting. She knew prayer was connecting with a God who healed, who saved, who helped her pay bills, who provided. She connected with God and her life is a testimony that it works. Her life says, I pray.
She didn’t take a course on prayer, she just prayed. She didn’t make a list of prayer postures, or wonderful words that would wow God or grab His attention, she just prayed, like the two year old that shows you how to take a picture with your smartphone, she didn’t talk about prayer, she lived it. What about you? Do you pray?
Yes, we are busy, much busier than she was. She ironed everything with a heavy real cast iron that was heated on the fireplace, gathered and chopped the wood for the fire, started the fire, cooked the meals, not from a box, but jars of foods she had grown, harvested and preserved. I’m too tired to continue describing her day, maybe we aren’t as busy as she was, then why don’t we pray?
Too busy to pray, we insist! Yet we spend hours, tons of hours, regularly, on our smartphones because they connect us with our friends, the world, they entertain us, they inform us, they remind us- enough already, this is not a commercial and I hope you are not picking up your keys to go buy another smartphone so you can double your fun. We use our phones because we enjoy the experience and the benefits. And if you don’t pray, you can’t possibly know it’s benefits.
I can’t answer for you, but it seems that the reasons we don’t pray would include thoughts like:
- I don’t really need anything, so I don’t need to pray.
- I’m doing fine without prayer.
- I don’t feel like I need to pray.
- What difference would it make if I did pray?
- Prayer isn’t on my list of fun things to do.
- Let somebody else do it.
- I’ve got better things to do.
- I’m not really sure how to pray.
- I’m not really into the whole prayer thing.
- And last, but not least, I don’t care what you say Pat, I’m still too busy to pray.
It all boils down to one thing, if we don’t pray, it’s because it is not important to us.
E.M. Bounds sums up the issue with “The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give to it.”
Prayer gets a lot of bad advertising.
If you listen to the in-crowd, they make it sound like praying is for dilapidated old folks or weird people that can’t help themselves. We don’t want prayer in our schools, or in our government and if we didn’t pray over our food it would be extinct from our homes as well. We don’t understand why divorce rattles the window panes of our homes and unrest and fear rattles our sleep. We shake our heads at shocking acts of violence, wince at the long lines of drug and alcohol abuse that end at the gutters of life, and blame everyone, and everything, including God, for the problem. We blame everything, everything, except our prayerless life for the problem.
Yet the strong voice of John Wesley, echoes down the halls of time to remind us, “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.”
And the voice of a wealthy young man that traded everything to give his life as a missionary in China extols the secret of prayer “The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'” (J. Hudson Taylor)
The challenge…God’s challenge from Jer. 33:3 is a call to pray. Not fancy words, not a fancy position, but to call out to Him.
I don’t pray:
- I don’t pray to change God, I pray to change me.
- I don’t pray to give God advice, I pray to get advice.
- I don’t pray because God needs the attention, I pray because I am desperate for His presence.
- I don’t pray because I feel guilty if I don’t, I pray because I am guilty and He sets me free from the guilt of sin.
- I don’t pray because I feel like I need it, I pray because I need it whether I feel like it or not. It is a spiritual discipline that produces spiritual results.
- I pray when I know what to say and when I don’t know what to say.
- I pray when I’m sad and praise when I’m happy.
- I pray when I’m on top of the world and I pray when the world’s on top of me.
- I pray when I have time, and when I don’t have time, I make time.
- I pray…because I’m in love and I’m in love because He loved me first.
I know it’s old fashioned, more old fashioned than a black, rotary phone. I know I’ve rambled and rattled on like an old lady myself, but somebody’s got to share the good news. Prayer is not something to dread or hurry through. Prayer connects us to God…it just doesn’t get any better than that.
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