Nov1FriNovember 1, 2013
By Rob Globke
We are continuing our series on Prayer with a post on how to pray.If you missed our previous posts on prayer, you can catch up by clicking the links below:
Back when I played professionally, I always enjoyed watching the equipment managers do their work. It might be the fact that most equipment guys and I share a delight in order, or it could just be that I'm a weird dude (have we heard that before from a coach somewhere?). Anyway, most equipment managers I know are really into organization and keeping things "just so". They liked having things clearly organized. All the equipment in the stalls needed to be certain way, the bags were always packed in the same style, and the many drawers and racks for every little thing neatly arranged in their "office", aka, the entire locker room. One of the jobs I enjoyed watching the most was when they meticulously placed all the backup sticks for each game neatly behind the bench. There never seemed to be a stick out of place; they were nicely arranged by number standing single file ready to be called into action at a moments notice. It was sheer beauty!
Now, what does this have to do with how we are supposed to pray?
Well, looking back on it, this glimpse into organizing sticks is a picture of how prayer works. All the sticks had a handful of characteristics which made them similar to one another. Each stick was of similar shape. All the sticks had tape on them. They all had a blade at the bottom. Each stick belonged to somebody and would be used to play the game of hockey at some point or another. Yet, despite the neat rows and many similarities, all the sticks were also very different. As I would scan the row of sticks, I could see the order, but also the uniqueness. There were short and tall sticks. There were lefties and righties. Some used Easton while others used Bauer. Some people used black tape, but others preferred white. They all had differently tapped knobs and blades. They all were the same, but different. And that is where this analogy can be applied to prayer. Authentic prayer has many similarities, but it is also vastly different from person to person.
Stop Looking for a Formula
There is no set formula for how to pray. There are some similarities in all prayers, but there are also many differences. Paul prayed with a different style than Jesus. King David cried out to God in a variety of different ways. Some people pray slowly with few words. Some people like to write their prayers out by hand. There are times when we pray alone and times we pray in a group. The point is....there is no manual saying this is the "only" way to pray. The Bible is full of examples of people who's prayers are similar, but different. Can you imagine how boring it would be if every hockey player used the same piece of lumber....I mean graphite...I mean carbon reinforced, feather light...you get the picture. What would all the hockey magazines do with their ad space if there was only one stick? The same can be said for prayer (minus the ad space of course!).
4 "How to's of Prayer"
Before we close, here are a few things we can all be certain must be done in prayer. Let's look at 4 of them:
1. Prayer is done in faith (Matt. 21:22)
You must believe what you pray will be heard and answered in some form by God. Prayer is faith personified. You are asking God to do something beyond your control. Your trusting Him to be with you and communicate with you.
2. Prayer is done in the name of Christ (John 16:24)We can only approach our heavenly Father through Christ. There is no other way. When we pray, we must pray in the name of Jesus with faith. Christ is the great mediator between us and the Father. Without Christ, we are lost when it comes to prayer.
3. Prayer is done in confidence (Heb. 4:16)You can and must approach God with confidence he will hear you.
4. Prayer is done effectively when you're keeping God's commands (1 John 3:22)
You will never be able to keep all of God's commands. This is why Christ had to come to die for us. But, you can seek to keep all God's commands. When you go to God in prayer, make sure you are not willfully going against what God tells you to do. As John 9:31 ones states, "if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him." Seek to do God's will!!
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