Posted by: ritagone | November 30, 2011

Show Up For Prayer

“The secret to a life of prayer, by and large, is showing up.”

I read this in the book I’m reading early in the morning for my devotional time, “In Constant Prayer” by Robert Benson.  I’m loving this little book, because it is the most honest, guiltless book I’ve ever read about how to go about starting and sustaining a prayer life.

You know, I find it interesting that I’m still reading books about starting and sustaining a prayer life.  What does that say about my prayer life, after over 40 years as a believer?   If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve struggled with understanding and putting prayer to good use.  I’m still not sure exactly what God wants of me in this area: does He want me to pray without ceasing, and what exactly does that mean?  How precisely do I live this out in my everyday life?  Also, since He already knows the future, how am I supposed to pray about the events and situations that are before me with faith?  Wouldn’t it just be better to let Him work it all out?  I think I actually have a fatalistic viewpoint about prayer that causes me to say: “Whatever will be, will be.  No use spending a lot of time praying over issues because God already knows how they will work themselves out anyway.”  Or maybe that’s just laziness on my part, an excuse to get me off the hook because praying early in the morning is just so difficult.  Or praying in the middle of the day.  Or late at night.  In short, praying at any time comes so unnaturally to me that I try to find ways to justify not doing it.  The best justification of all is the one that says: God is going to do what He’s going to do, so why bother?  I trust Him.

It’s that “I trust Him” that makes my lack of prayer a little bit more palatable in my own mind, allowing me to get away with days or weeks without spending any time with God.

So you can see the confusion that I still struggle with about prayer after so many years walking with the Lord.  I’m a bit ashamed, a bit frustrated, and a whole lot always wanting this to change, because I know this isn’t the way God wants my prayer life to be

Lately, however, God has been whispering in my ear.  Partly due to Benson’s book, partly due to the Holy Spirit’s voice, partly due to the fact that I keep remembering times in my life when I have sucked it up and spent time praying and know that the results have been concrete and specific and wonderful to behold.  You’d think seeing such results would cause me to commit to a consistent prayer life, but it just doesn’t seem to work that way.  Which is why reading Benson’s book was so refreshing and gratifying to my soul: evidently I’m not the only one on the planet who has had the experience of exciting answered prayer followed by arid periods of very little prayer life at all.

Somehow Satan or the lesser demon of prayer apathy manages to get in there and convince us that prayer is useless or worthless or too much trouble.

Which leads me to believe that prayer must be pretty significant in God’s Kingdom.  Otherwise, why would God’s opponents be so committed to deliberately undermining it among God’s people?  And if you’re reading this, I suspect you have had or are having the same conflict over prayer that I’m describing.

Let’s face it: prayer is just not an easy thing in the life of most believers.

So I’m going to begin anew, not crying over years of wasted lack of prayer, not looking behind, not regretting anything I haven’t done in the past.  Instead, I’m going to do exactly what Benson encourages me to do: I’m going to show up.  Because I really do want a life of prayer.

As a matter of fact, there’s been a specific prayer forming in my head and in my heart over the last few weeks.  I can’t tell you about it.  The current cliche is that if I told you, I’d have to kill you.  Well, it’s not that severe, but in all seriousness, I would like to keep it between me and God for right now.  But it has to do with some pretty significant goals and objectives I have in mind for Christian Associates by the end of 2012.  That’s all I can tell you.  I’d love for you to take up this challenge with me.  Would you be willing to pray for something along with me that you can’t even put to words?  Just commit to praying alongside me, asking God to do the work that I’m asking Him to do, without knowing specifically what it is.  It’s kind of a mystery prayer, if you will.  I know what it is, and God certainly does.  That’s all that matters.  But I think that the more people who are agreeing with me about it even in abstract terms and bringing it before God – showing up to knock on His door and whisper in His ear, as it were – the more chance there is, I believe, that He will do something really amazing and surprising and wonderful before next year is over.

And if He answers it another way, which is very possible, that’s okay too.  Because the more I read about prayer, the more I realize that a big part of it is the ability to let God be God, having the faith to step back and understand that God knows the bigger picture, and that eventually we have to trust Him and put everything in His very capable hands.

So that’s where I’m at: I’m showing up and I’m praying.

Join me.

Whenever you think about today’s Rita’s Ramblings, stop and pray for the mystery prayer request.

Show up with me.

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Responses

  1. Rita,
    Well done. You have challenged me to “show up” more.

  2. I’m in and praying with you Rita!!! Great blog.

  3. I’m with you Rita, I believe in prayer my life has be blessed because of it.
    Keep praying,
    Joy

    • Joy, prayer is one of those things that if we just do it, it’s a blessings. It’s the doing that is often so hard to work out. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Thanks, Rita for your honest and encouraging words. As I am teaching a class on – you guessed it PRAYER – at Club 31 on Wednesdays at Calvary I think I will put Bensen’s book on recommended reading. As one of the gals said at our first class last week: ” you mean we are to pray for a WHOLE HOUR!” and I had to laugh. We are studying Dick Eastman’s book on The Hour That Changes the World. Thanks again for your comments. Marilyn

    • Marilyn, did you know Rick and Heidi are in our Growth Group now? We are really enjoying getting to know them.

  5. Thanks, Rita for your honest and encouraging words. As I am teaching a class on – you guessed it PRAYER – at Club 31 on Wednesdays at Calvary I think I will put Bensen’s book on recommended reading.


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