Friday, April 4

Intentional prayer

"'And -- praying -- ye may not use vain repetitions like the nations, for they think that in their much speaking they shall be heard." Matthew 6:7 YLT

One of the biggest themes in a Christian's life is prayer; the ability to converse with a Being that is so far above us and so beyond our ability to 'tame'. Some utter the 'titled' Lord's Prayer, the one that Jesus taught His disciples to pray like not by. Others akin the prayer like a phone call to home, full of seemingly trivial items that underlie the connection and safety found in their physical ones. Yet others look to prayer as an invoice; listing all the needs, wants, desires, complications, and required items needed to correct those negative things.

But I wonder how often we, as Christians, think of the intentions behind our prayers, regardless of the style of praying that we do. I definitely don't bash any praying that is done, or forgo the necessity or 'requirement' of prayer in the intentional Christian's life, but I wonder how often we look to the Lord's prayer and reflect upon the intentional look Jesus calls us to take when we approach our Heavenly Father with dialogue.

We are to be intentional in our approach, which is what I think Jesus is talking about when He spoke the prayer to His disciples. Praise and adoration, even when we don't feel it, reminds us of God's powerful holiness which deserves, even demands, recognition. Realization of God's authority over us, and the subjection of our free will to the Will of His plan. Confession of sins, to remind us of growth we yet to do and the powerful counselor that enables us to overcome those sins. And the 'final' part of our dialogue, our thoughts and desires for the needs of those we love, those we serve, and even ourselves.

To me, the most awesome prayers that I have heard in a group are the ones that aren't fluid, full of halting and deliberation, that often signal an active awareness of what is being done. Something, that to a Christian is as natural as breathing. Of course, that's not always the sign of a true prayer….sometimes the Spirit has descended upon brothers and sisters and uttered the deeply felt longings of the souls of those present. But more often, it is a humble and awe-struck person that yearns to express their entire gratitude, inspired, and heart-driven prayers to the throne of the Most High God that humble me the most.

But what are our intents behind the praise, the honor, the recognition, and requests? Is it to harness the power of this God? Is it to have the ability to point the accusing finger at Him when our problems aren't fulfilled in the way we want? Is it to gain things that capture our attention, ease our lives beyond the comfort we enjoy at any given moment?

Or is it to draw closer to God, to recommit regardless the outcome to the Will that recognizes one thing; Glory to the Father? Is it to bring ourselves back into submission to the Call, the Commission, or the Conviction of His children?

Is it to bring honor to the One to whom all honor is due?

How do you pray?

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