It started last week. I decided that I was tired of complaining, or really reading about so many complaints. I was tired of the memes and the rhetoric around politics mostly. They really don’t convince anyone of anything. So I decided to do the only thing I could – pray. I wrote a prayer and posted it on my facebook account. I asked people to pray with me. It was a simple prayer.
And people prayed. They went beyond that – some shared the prayer. I wasn’t expecting that. Since I started last week, I’ve posted a prayer just about every day except for the weekend. And people kept praying with me and sharing the prayer.
And then yesterday I saw someone I didn’t know post the prayer. Let’s just say that in this short period since this has been going on, I’ve learned a few things.
First, people want to pray. I think there is a desire for prayer. I think most people believe they don’t have the words though. Guess what – you do. Even when you fumble through a prayer. God’s not looking for perfection. Just open the Bible and you’ll see a whole bunch of imperfect people that God employs to carry out God’s will.
You want to know how to pray and what to say – here’s the directions. 1. Take a moment and be still and listen. 2. Start talking to God about whatever comes to you mind – even if it starts off like this – “I don’t know what to say God.” Guess what, you’ll go from there. starting is the key. 3. When you’re done, say Amen, or talk with you later. That works too.
Second, prayer is powerful. But not in an earthly power way. It’s powerful because it can change things. No, the situations I have been praying about haven’t changed. But that’s not the point. Situations are made up of people. And what I’m finding is that people changed through prayer. Here’s what I mean by this.
I’ve been changed by these prayers. That’s a big part of the reason I started – to change me. I felt God nudging me to more prayer. To be more in alignment with God. Here’s the amazing thing about prayer – especially public prayer. You can’t pray for someone and then turn around and seek vengeance or spew heated rhetoric on a person. You can’t pray for calm and peace and then turn around and start shouting. Prayer forces you to change. Prayer forces you to act with integrity and consistency. Prayer changes you.
I think there is this false idea about prayer out there in pop culture that prayer is nothing more than just asking God for something. And people get disappointed when they don’t get what they prayed for. That’s not prayer – that’s Amazon.com.
Prayer does involve petitioning God, but it’s different. It’s hard to explain too. Prayer starts with the notion that it’s not about me. Prayer is listening just as much as it is talking to or with God. Prayer is acknowledging our fears and limitations and that we just don’t know all that much. Prayer is voicing what we think is best for us and being honest about it, but realizing that what we think is best for us, may not actually be (and usually isn’t). Prayer is about being open to God’s will for our lives – and let me tell you – sometimes that really sucks.
But I wouldn’t change that for anything.
So I’m going to continue this daily prayer thing. I encourage you to offer your own prayers. I’d love to pray with you. I don’t have a monopoly on prayer here. Actually, the more people that pray, the better, as far as I’m concerned. To me that means more lives will be changed. And if enough lives change, situations change.
I set up a Twitter account where I post the daily prayer also. I figured that for the prayer to truly be public, it should go beyond just the people I’m connected to on facebook. If you care to join in prayer through Twitter, I can found at @dailyprayer16.
But more importantly, pray with me – please. Don’t just read the words – pray them. Share your own prayer and share it with me. I want to pray with you. People need prayer. I need prayer. People need to hear prayers. People want to be changed. Don’t underestimate how God can change people. Let’s pray.