5) Prayer – This is often mis-understood, at least it was to me for many years as a Christian. I always heard stories growing up of saints of old who got up in the wee hours of the morning to earnestly seek the face of God in prayer. And I so wanted to be that “saint of old”. But I found it extremely difficult. Some Christians may think it’s my “lack of true spirituality”, or my “lack of true commitment”, or my being “too carnal”. Who knows, maybe their right?
I read a book back in the 90’s called, Could You Not Tarry One Hour by Larry Lea (he was a famous TV preacher and pastor of a huge church in Texas back in the 80’s 90’s era until he was exposed on Nightline NBC for fraudulent activities. I actually met him personally … he always looked so tall on TV, but he was a very little guy in person). So I read the book and began getting up every morning before school and praying for an hour through the Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes I would fall asleep and wake up an hour later… that’s when the prayer time flew by, but normally I struggled to even find the words to pray (which is where my Pentecostal roots came in handy… cause I could just pray in the spirit for a while).
This went on a couple years, maybe three and it became robotic, hallow, empty, ineffective and unproductive. Plus I found myself becoming self righteous because now “I got up in the wee hours of the mornings and prayed for a whole hour” I am super spiritual, actually I am more spiritual than most people because most people do not do that and I do, therefore I am better than they.
Then I actually heard a sermon early in 2000 that really impacted my spiritual life as it relates to prayer. It freed me from the heavy burden I had carried around about this “wee hours in the morning prayer” stuff and it gave me freedom to pray in a way that is real, fresh, and productive for me, for my spiritual journey. Here is a verse that I now understand …
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
I had always wondered (with my previous views of prayer) how could I pray without ceasing and hold down a job without being fired. Now I know … pray is just “communicating” with God in whatever way best fits you, your personality, your style, your life, etc. And for me, I pretty much (not always) but pretty much am in an attitude of thoughtful prayers, reflections or meditations all the time. Please, don’t go thinking, “wow Timmy is so awesome!” Cause I’m not (well my wife and kids think I am, but don’t let them fool ya). I am just a regular guy who really loves Jesus and wants to see others find and connect with God in a way that is real and impact-ful for them.
So I challenge you to communicate with God in whatever way fit YOU best!