Friday, May 31, 2013

Life-Prayer


This Sunday, in every church in America, there is going to be someone talking about his or her prayer-life. maybe not the pastor, but someone. He or she will approach someone else and ask them about their prayer-life.

"How's your prayer-life?"

Prayer is important. In fact it is so important I didn't want to write this at all. I didn't feel qualified nor good enough at it to write about prayer. I mean, there are times in my life where I feel my prayers bounce back off the ceiling and hit me hot in the face. Useless words spouted at a God who is either not listening or just doesn't care?

What if there was more to prayer than talking to God? Not that talking to God isn't crucial, because it is, but what if that was just a part of the story? In Ephesians 2, Paul tells the church at Ephesus they are God's poem, his workmanship, his masterpiece. If that's the case, there might be more required than just a few whispers towards the ceiling before bed.
Most great musicians will tell you they don't know how a song works before they play it in front of an audience. Sinatra used to bring a crowd of people into the studio when he was recording. It helped him to see the people react to the song. Dylan used to do a similar thing. I once saw a documentary on Jay-Z making the Black Album and he was bringing two or three people into the studio with him just to listen to the beats he was choosing between. He knew if it didn't play in front of a crowd, it didn't play.

Maybe there's a part of prayer that's more like that. Maybe prayer plays in front of a crowd more than in a quiet room. Not in a "look at me, are you seeing this?" way, but in a "are you SEEING this?" way. Maybe prayer is part of the mystical union we have with one another which allows us to feel what someone else is feeling, to experience pain and joy with someone, and to learn from someone else's mistakes.

Just like any other healthy relationship, we need to spend time alone with one another. The nature of that time alone with God is extremely important, and as I talked about earlier, you don't actually have to be in solitude with God to have solitude with God.

There's nothing worse than someone bragging about their alone time with God. The public life-prayer is for other people, to encourage fellow Christians and to bring us closer to a true understanding of the above-all in-all through-all Savior we worship. We need a little spiritual PDA. The time you spend with God alone, the things you say, the things you do--some of that stuff needs to stay private.

Don't kiss and tell.

I once read an article in a surfing magazine that basically said surfing along is only honorable if you don't tell anyone about it. Prayer and fasting are done best when you don't tell anyone about them. How many books or blogs (hopefully not this one) are really just some person telling you how awesome his or her spiritual life is, hoping you think he or she is super pious? 

That's dumb.

I hope this is an honest account about how little I have it all together. That said, while prayer is beneficial when done in secret, your life-prayer is public. Your actions should be love letters to God or at least sappy texts sent in the middle of the night.

Prayer is done in secret, in your head. Life is done on the world stage. Prayer is your behind the scenes director's commentary to life. you can't be good at one without getting better at the other. 

But still. Don't be that guy. Don't try to make people think you're "super-spiritual guy" at the expense of the truth. It's lame. More importantly, it robs us of our joy and takes away from what is actually happening when we unite our spirits to God's in prayer.

You're like wood. Fire wood. When you put wood in a fire it burns. The wood ceases to be wood and becomes something else entirely. Some of it becomes ash. Some becomes charcoal, but most of the wood becomes fire. Prayer is you putting yourself in God's fire, knowing you will be changed. Knowing the Divine will consume you and transform you into Himself.
Don't you want a prayer life like that?

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.