Posted: April 4, 2013 in Blog

PrayerOver the years, prayer has become increasingly important to me. I once prayed simple-to-the-point-prayers, and now I pray simple-to-the-point-prayers. Even so, the discipline of prayer is not so ‘simple’. Usually, when one does something, or anything for that matter—let’s say running or knitting or something—that person usually grows in proficiency and skill. As time passes, I pray with greater frequency, devotion, and fervency, and yet I do not feel particularly proficiency or skilled in prayer; to consider one ‘good at prayer’ is dubious at best. Then again, maybe it isn’t. What I have learned is that prayer is not just a matter of doing it, and I don’t really pray like I should.

Once upon a time, I assumed the disciples to be rather dim for asking Jesus how to pray; I mean, they had the Messiah with them, modeling prayer constantly, just do what he does, right? How hard can it really be? Now I feel stricken with the same dimness I once thought the disciples to possess—Lord, how do I pray?

Sometimes, Christians inquiring about prayer only receive exhortations more akin to a Nike commercial than Jesus’ instruction to his disciples. I understand prayer can be made into an impossible labyrinth of genuflection, ritual, and technique, which is damaging. And while prayer might be as simple as the ABC’s, it must be realized that the ABC’s were not so easy at one point in everyone’s life.

The words of J.I. Packer & Carolyn Nystrom in their book Praying were rather comforting as I recently struggled through a difficult season of prayer. “Let’s be realistic where we are and where we are not in this matter of praying. Deep down all of us have found that prayer isn’t as easy as some people make it sound, or as easy as we ourselves had hoped it would be once our technique was straightened out.

While prayer is not merely a heartless technique, it is also more than simply talking to God. Prayer is a unique path to relate to God where one can seek him in all things. In the end, this is an inadequate description of prayer; thus the importance of taking the time to reflect upon what prayer is, what prayer is not, and the importance of growing in the discipline of prayer.

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