Prayer is a subject that causes offense. Many goofy things are said in relation to prayer.
Recently, I heard a church boast that they were a good church because, “98% of our prayers are answered here. We know because we keep track.”
Quite the statement. Makes a guy wonder what happened with the 2%. Also makes you wonder what they mean by “answered.”
Modern conceptions of prayer revolve around praying before meals, before bedtime, during quiet time while you run through your list, and, quite frankly, no one really thinks it works.
We do it because we know that’s what good Christians do. Prayer for most is so close to “the power of positive thinking” one wonders what the intent is anyway.
In the New Testament Age, we are told that the Spirit intercedes for us along with Christ, and that we know not what we should pray for as we ought (more on that verse here).
For most, this has come to mean, “Yeah, whatever, the Spirit does prayer, you don’t really have to do it anyway. You don’t know what you’re asking anyhow.”
Prayer then becomes flippant, or at least highly irrelevant.
One is almost stunned when one runs across people in the Bible who are actually expressing sincere emotion during prayer.
“I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” Daniel says as he contemplates the future of Israel.
While in this state of mind, Daniel says, “I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
Daniel was bummed. He was quite worked up here. He didn’t whine to everyone about his problems; he went to the Lord. The emotion was genuine, not contrived. This wasn’t some stuff to do to manipulate God. It was sincere emotion on display with trust in God.
I’m not telling anyone to fast, wear sackcloth, or dust themselves with dirt, what I am saying is–when was the last time true emotion was in your prayer?
Do we even take enough time for emotion to exist in our prayers? When was the last time your prayers interfered with your eating schedule? When was the last time any bit of your schedule was disrupted because of prayer?
More than likely you can just eliminate this whole post and conclude I’m a sentimental legalist stuck under law who doesn’t know grace and carry on.