A pastor once asked his church to pray that GOD would shut down a neighborhood bar. The whole church gathered for an evening prayer meeting, pleading with GOD to rid the neighborhood of the evils of this bar. A few weeks later, lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.
Having heard about the church's prayer crusade, the bar owner promptly sues the church. When the court date finally arrived, the bar owner passionately argued that GOD struck his bar with lightning because the church members' prayers. The pastor backtracked, brushing off the accusations. He admitted the church prayed, but he also affirmed that no one in his congregation really expected anything to happen.
The Judge leaned back in his chair, a mix of amusement and perplexity on his face. Finally he spoke. "I can't believe what I'm hearing. Right in front of me is a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer and a pastor who doesn't."
It's funny, I have heard this story now twice in the last week or so. First by reading the book "The Christian Atheist" by Craig Groeschel and second by having lunch with my friend Tommy. In the last two weeks, prayer is a reoccurring subject that keeps popping up again and again every time I turn around.
It seems to be the truth that there are many people who claim to have a relationship with God, who believe in God, but they don't believe in prayer. They may even claim to believe that prayer works, but their actions say otherwise. Some rarely pray, and when they do they don't expect anything to change.
I believe that many Christian's create long lists of reasons in their heads why not to pray, from feeling we're not good enough at it, to being bored when we do pray; from not wanting to bother God with our small requests, to not thinking our prayers can actually make a difference.
Many of us fear that we aren't good enough, eloquent enough, or passionate enough. Instead of trying and failing, we don't try at all. We forget that God loves the prayers of imperfect people, people who know they've done wrong, who know they are helpless on their own, who reach out to God, who know they need him.
Perhaps sometimes prayer simply bores us. Our minds wander in the middle of a conversation with the Creator of the universe. Random thoughts enter our head, worries intrude. Have I taken care of my bills, did I get that little thing I was supposed to do at work done, when is my son's next football game, or the million other pressing thoughts or concerns that intrude upon us. I know that once I'm bored or distracted, I feel so guilty I don't want to keep praying.
It can not be denied that when prayer becomes an empty, meaningless ritual, it is boring. But if you take but just a moment to realize - that the God of the universe is honestly, truly excited to hear from you- that alone will change your attitude toward prayer. Move the focus from yourself to God. This is the beginning to making prayer fresh and exciting.
Prayer is fellowshiping with the father - a vital personal contact with God, Who is more than enough. We are to be in constant communion with Him.
As Christians we must realize that nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. Prayer can do anything that God can do, and God can do anything. Too many people forget that prayer is talking to God, not merely repeating words. Jesus said we are not to pray with vain repetition.
Prayer that brings results must be based on Gods word.
For many Christians the major failure in life is failing to learn to pray. There is no need in your life that proper prayer could not supply that need nor is there any sin you may be tempted with in your life that proper prayer could not avoid.
For in the model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 who was the Lord speaking to if not the common man. "In this manner, therefore, pray." This is a guide to show us how to pray. Pray like this!
I tell you that anyone who can talk to an earthly father can talk to their heavenly Father. You do not have to pray in old English, or convoluted terms, or poetic meter. God is not looking for you to mimic Shakespeare or sound the part of an educated man. You can just talk to God out of your heart. That's the way a child talks to his father. How often did you as a child meet your father at the door as he came home from work and say. "Hail thou ruler of the domicile. I welcome thee home from thy Sojourn". I can sure promise you it did not go down like that at my house. More likely was "Daddy!! I love you (pause for the shaking bear hug), It's so good you are home.
It does not mean that we are to be irreverent or disrespectful to God, just that we can speak to God right out of our hearts and say to him, "Father".
Look for further Topics on Prayer.