Catching the Spirit of Prayer

ObedientYou may not imagine yourself as a great person of prayer. I never did…but prayer just wouldn’t turn loose of me. My heritage of prayer came from my Granny Gladys. She would rise up every morning, way before daylight, and go into the bathroom to pray. The side of the bathtub was her altar. She had an old worn piece of notebook paper tucked into her Bible, which had names on it. Some of the names had long since faded…cried on, anointed with oil. Names were written up and down the sides, on the back, as many as she could cram onto that piece of paper.  I can still see her hands…large joints from arthritis and years of hard work, folding that smudged piece of paper and putting it back away for another day.  I admired her, knew what she was doing was absolutely right…but I never imagined myself being “her.” I was a free-spirit…the “don’t-hem-me-in” type; and that’s what I thought a devoted prayer life might do to me. I wanted to be on the move!

For me, however, the journey began as a sudden, growing fascination with prayer. I didn’t necessarily pray more at that point, but I couldn’t shake the interest in it as a subject. I began reading about it. I began listening to teachings on it. As I gained an understanding of what prayer really is, and of the powerful exchange which takes place in our intimate time with our Heavenly Father, I began to crave that deeper relationship. It was that craving for what praying people have with God which motivated me to go there.

Much of what I write about in my daily postings and in my blog is prayer. The reason why I talk about it to all of you so much is this: I want others to know what wonderful things are available to the person who draws close to our Father. It’s not a doom-and-gloom, all-serious, no joy, no laughter kind of thing. Not at all. At times, yes, we intercede with great urgency and solemn tone for situations; but real prayer, done daily, brings great peace and joy. It’s not beyond the possibility that you will find occasion to laugh as you share with God. His peace bubbles over in every area of my life. I love laughter, playfulness, humor, happy exchange. I can have that, because the burdens are dealt with in their right place–a private conversation with the One Who has an ability to do something about them. And interestingly, some of the greatest intercessors I know are the free-spirit, love to laugh people.  They’re not walking around long-faced, in sackcloth and ashes.  I shouldn’t be surprised. My Granny, who dealt with any number of difficulties in her life, always had a smile and a quick wit. You could go to her, thinking you might give her a word of encouragement, and walk way being the one encouraged.

I might add this:  the spirit of prayer does fit us all, but it will look different on you than it does on me.  My prayer life isn’t exactly like my grandmother’s.  The time of day, where I do it, what’s being said, it’s all unique to the person God created me to be.  Free-spirit that I still am, it’s more of an ongoing conversation with Him that begins first thing in the morning (and usually not at 5 AM like Granny!) and carries on throughout the day.  There’s not an ending amen; instead, for me, it’s more like a “to be continued.”  You may be very structured, though; same time, same place, same format may be how you are wired to pray.  I say that all to say, don’t look at someone else’s prayer life and despair that yours doesn’t resemble his or hers.  It won’t be the same.  God wants our heart; and HOW we arrive in the place of prayer isn’t so important as THAT we arrive in the place of prayer. If you’ll simply get used to talking to Him every day, in good times and bad, you won’t associate the prayer closet with misery, weeping, wailing, and dread—where you only go when something is terribly wrong.  Prayer is interaction.  You’ll talk to Him, yes…but if you’ll hang out with Him and just be still, He will talk to YOU.  How’s that?  Sometimes prayer is even sitting in silence as you wait for Him!

Don’t be afraid to talk to Him. Don’t fear that a prayer life will smother you and be cumbersome. Don’t fear that becoming a person of prayer will overwhelm you with other people’s problems. You are just a messenger! Take the needs to Your Father…and let Him solve them. You don’t have to fix people’s problems or be able to give them advice. Just be willing to carry them to the Lord. He’ll fix them…and you’ll find yourself longing to talk to Him, not dreading it like some household chore! It’s a gift, and yes, YOU can become a person of prayer!