Prayer Box or Prayer Life?
Last fall my prayer life was in a rut. No energy. No interest. I was zoning out during my devos. The one steady part of my routine was that my prayer journal got filled each day. I sort of felt that if I didn't fill the page, I hadn't prayed. If the page was full, I was good to go.
Then my friend Melinda confronted me: "Maybe you should put your journal down. It seems like you're putting your prayer life in that box and it's stuck in there."
It seems we have a lot of prayer boxes that we get stuck in. Journals, Wednesday night prayer meetings, Bible homework, morning devos, and writing long lists of requests can be "boxes" we get stuck in. These things are not bad, but as long as you keep your prayer life in these boxes you'll never have a prayer life.
Prayer is an ongoing conversation with God. He goes with you everywhere. You would not spend the day with a friend and say, "I will speak with you at lunch, but for the rest of the day let's not talk!" Why do we relegate our prayer life to one portion or portions of our day?
Let me challenge you to read Acts 3:1–10. In these verses, Peter and John were headed to the prayer box of "the hour of prayer." Not bad. But if we keep our prayer in that box it is. But these guys weren't stuck in the box. Peter and John were in constant communion with the Holy Spirit, and they knew what He was about to do before He did it. That's why when they walked by a beggar, they said, "Look at us!"
Why didn't they say, "Look to Jesus? Look to God? Come to the hour of prayer with us?" (Oh, how often we fail to just pray with a friend, and we tell them to come to church to get prayed for ... wrong!) Peter and John knew that they were filled with God, and they looked like Him and sounded like Him because they were full of Him! They were in constant communion. They had a prayer life.
There are other evidences that they had a prayer life in this passage. When they speak healing in Jesus' name, it was a prayer. (Remember John 14:13–14 says, "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.") Funny thing: they didn't have their eyes closed when they said these words. Just because your eyes aren't closed, you aren't opening and closing with "Dear God" and "Amen," you aren't kneeling, or at church doesn't mean it's not prayer. Prayer is communication, and it yields results.
In this case, the beggar who had never been able to walk was healed. He began leaping and praising God. Fairly good results, don't you think? So overcome is he by this healing that he begins leaping and praising God. He knows of no box or rules by which to pray; it just flows out of him in jumping praise. When was the last time you did that?
Get out of your prayer box. Start a prayer LIFE!
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