Prayer. As a word of expression, it is commonly used. As a religious activity, it is widely known and even practiced. Christian churches know all about prayer. You can pretty much guarantee that no church gathering ever takes place without prayer taking place at some point during the gathering. Individually, Christians may engage in prayer occasionally or as a regular habit.
Much can be discussed about what prayer is all about and what it isn’t. Let’s take time to clear up and correct 2 misconceptions about prayer.
Misconception #1. Prayer is NOT about a scheduled activity.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to pray without ceasing. That means incessantly, without remission, without stopping. When we think of something we actually do without stopping, it’s probably breathing. Breathing is a part of life. It is necessary to life. We can see prayer in that light as well. It is not a scheduled activity or appointment you make with God sometimes. Prayer is an ongoing communication and connection with the Father.
Prayer must be your lifestyle. It must be part of your daily life for it is necessary to maintaining a well-grounded life on this earth. God must be in our everyday. The more we keep Him out, the more difficult and complicated life becomes. The more we keep Him in, the more manageable and more joyful living becomes. God is ever present and we are ever before Him. It is our sad choice to shut Him out and ignore Him during the day (or night). We can and we should maintain easy communication with Him because the access is always there.
Let prayer be your way of life. Send breath prayers to God all day. Stay your Spirit in His presence and be attuned to Him throughout your day.
Misconception #2. Prayer is NOT about asking.
In prayer, there is asking. But, there is much much more. In Matthew 6, the Lord Jesus Christ tells us that the Father knows full well what we need of even before we ask. Technically, there is no need to ask our Father because He knows exactly what we need and we know that He will come to our aid and provide what we need. He will supply us with what He knows is best for us. So, why ask anyway? Because prayer is about seeking.
By prayer, we seek the heart and mind of God. He knows what’s good for us. He knows what we need. But many times, it is us who are not sure of what’s best for us. It is us who cannot distinguish between real need and ‘just’ felt need. When we ask and God provides, we learn that we asked for the right thing. When we ask and God withholds, we learn that we asked for the wrong thing. This guides us towards making better requests to Him and seeking better things in life the next time around.
By prayer, we witness the power and realness of our God. When we pray and wait for God’s answers, we become more observant of His workings. We become more sensitive and aware of His movement and dealings in us and around us.
Prayer is not about asking. It is about knowing and discovering more of God and more of ourselves. That is why in Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus encourages us to literally keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. In doing so, we will give our full attention as we receive, as we find, and as we see doors open before us.
Maintain prayer in all its aspects as much as you can. Ask, praise, have sorrow for your failings, seek guidance, seek the giver. Do these and see your prayer life deepen, see yourself grow more secure in His love and wisdom.