Just like the little boy who defined FAITH as believing in something you know ain’t true, so do many people define Prayer. To very many church people, prayer is a hit or miss exercise. It is ok to pray for something, just don’t get your expectations too high.
There are probably more books written on Prayer than the entire other topics. Don’t believe me? Just walk into any Christian book store and see how much space is given over to the subject of prayer and how much space is left over for all the other topics. And yet we have such a void of praying Christians in our churches.
There are those who act like prayer is a great Credit Card in the Sky. Ask and if you have enough invested in the account… Others who fervently pray, but give God an “Way Out” just incase He says “No”. That way they can believe in Prayer, and not be disappointed. They use Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane where He (Jesus) says “But not my will but Thine be done.” So like a good formula, they pray their prayer and tag that on the end, just in case God decides against them. I know that is not what Jesus was doing. Don’t jump me for saying that. But I have seen many who use those words either as a magic incantation, or as a scape goat if their request were not answered.
Now truthfully, it is good to pray in God’s Will and to want His Desires over mine… is good. But when it comes down to effective prayer, sometimes the formula or wording we tend to use is for good luck. I once knew a pastor’s wife that was frantically serious that You Had To, You Must, It was Critical … that you Always end every prayer with the words; “In Jesus name I pray,” or else God would not hear you.
Where did the Church Prayer Service go? When did the Church stop? According to Barna Research less than 25% of the Evangelical (zealous, enthusiastically, or fervent) Families pray on a daily (or weekly) schedule.
I just recently re-posted an article about the Fruits of the Spirit, and in it I found that those who have the Fruits evident in their lives, tend to have effective prayer lives, and those with “bad” fruit, tend to have weak and ineffective prayers.
Stay tuned… in the coming week, I intend to study this more, organize my thoughts and write a sequel or two.