When we think of prayer, the first thing that usually comes to our mind is asking God for some help with our lives or with the lives of persons we know and love. Thankfully, prayer is certainly that. Prayer is calling on the Creator and the Healer to act consistently with His character.
But prayer is so much more. What would a parent think if the only time a child ever spoke was to ask for help applying a Band-Aid to a skinned knee or a scraped elbow? Is the purpose for communication between a parent and a child limited to request making? How effective would a parent be in raising a child if responding to “help” pleas were the only link between the generations?
Likewise, with prayer, God is pleased to hear and respond to our requests. Yet God is not merely interested in our physical health or the prospects of a new job. His interest and passion for us is nothing less than the total reshaping of our faith and life. He wants to transform us (Rom. 12.1,-2; 2 Cor. 3.17-18) into something that we have yet to fully attain.
Prayer is a vital link in that process. The practice of prayer is an interactive time of listening and speaking, learning and growing, loving and being loved by God. Prayer is the classroom of God, shaping and preparing us for the rough and tumble of life. Prayer is not the end of our trouble, the conclusion of our problems; prayer is the preparation for the embracing of our life circumstances. Though God may remove our stumbling blocks, our thorn in the flesh, His more likely response may be to prepare us to be shaped by our experiences to look a little more like Jesus.
Thus the practice of prayer is a time for God to work on us. Prayer is the conversation that places us in an environment to be impacted by God’s loving will. To do that we must commit ourselves to not merely speak of our knees and elbows, we move to listen to the wisdom of God’s word to our heart and life.
What would God teach you in prayer today?