“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” Mark 9:24b
Many people find prayer baffling, even those people we consider to be experts. Each day is a new journey with God making each conversation with Him new. We go to bed expecting life to be pretty much the same the next day however when we wake and go into the world, we encounter unpredictable people and circumstances that may bless us or try us; both reasons for new talks with God.
Prayer is often the conversation many don’t know how to start or wonder why they pray. Our perception of prayer can be confusing because of expectations we gleaned from scripture. For example, Jesus not only told us that we can ask for anything using the authority of His name, He said we’d receive it (John 14:13). He also tells us to keep asking (Luke 18:1-8). As so, we ask Jesus over and over again to heal our sickly child, help with our finances, mend broken relationships, and bring us peace of mind. Yet for many, nothing seems to change, and they wonder what happened. They doubt their faith and even their love of God and will erroneously wonder if they had the correct prayer posture or said the proper words. James offers a hint why our prayers seem to go unanswered when he shared, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives” (James 4: 3a). What can be selfish about wanting our spouse’s cancer to be healed or a child to stop being bullied at school?” Tearfully we may cry out “God what do you want me to say?”
Prayer is not just a few words spoken to the Creator, but it is a way to experience Him. It is a practice that must become our way of life and requires an intentional mind shift on our part. God is everywhere, and we need to watch for Him in our life, the lives of others and in our daily circumstances. We need to get into the habit of looking for His grace and blessings wherever we are, then respond by talking to Him. We need to regard prayer as more than an activity we schedule into our day but a catalyst that governs our day. Prayers become the words and responses we offer throughout the day as we witness or experience both good and bad.
God knows that the world we will face each day has been corrupted. It is not the one He created or intended for us. He knows that it wants to corrupt us and that is why He wants us to talk with Him. He wants to bless us and show us His goodness that is still around us. God wants us to talk with him about our lives as well as the lives of others. He knows prayer can be difficult for many because our quick turn around expectations have the need to slow down, see life around us and listen for God. In addition to the teachings found in scripture, there are numerous books that offer insight into prayer. They reveal that prayer is an experience meant to be lived. It begins with the belief God wants to connect with us and not only does He listen to us, He will speak to us if we listen for Him. Those, whose life revolves around prayer, share that prayer creates, sustains, and strengthens the bond between Creator and created.
We believe in prayer and accept God’s invite to pray for others. The Shield (our monthly prayer suggestions) is offered to stimulate people to pray for our military community. We identify topics and suggest prayers all with the hope that you will look for God wherever you go and offer your own words to our listening Father. Join us this month as we invite God to change lives.