Monday, May 5, 2014

How Prayer is Like Pinterest

Anna Blunden - 'For Only One Short Hour' - Google Art ProjectThis year if I've learned one spiritual thing, it would be how to pray.  I thought I knew how.  I'm not a baby Christian.  I've prayed through seasons of change before, through medical troubles, through fear and grief and hope against hope.  Yet this year I've learned all over again how to wait and pray. 

I wanted to share what I learned with you.  I thought I could write 3 tips to improve your prayer life or The secret to prayer that works!  But every time I started to blog about it I realized I didn't have anything to tell you that you don't already know.

There was a time in my life when I lost a bunch of weight and kept it off.  And let me just tell you if  you lose some serious pounds and keep it off a year or two people are very interested.  They want a secret, a short-cut, a magic food.  But I was not a satisfying person to talk to because all I had to offer is "change your lifestyle," "increase your activity," and  "eat healthier food." I had nothing to say that they didn't already know.

What did I learn about prayer?  Pray more. More often, with more discipline, with more frequency, with more heart.  Pray less selfishly.  Pray more trustingly.  Pray in harmony with the will of God, not to assert your will in the world. But you already knew that, right?

Maybe instead of comparing the whole thing to weight loss tips, I should have thought of Pinterest instead.  I can't tell you how many lovely pins I have clicked on to find a 10 point tutorial on how-to DIY the home improvement project in question.  They say things like "strip off the wallpaper" or "apply a coat of varnish."  Sounds simple?  One could assume that because I can read the list, I can actually follow the instructions and get the same results.


Brutal honesty forces me to admit that I should be banned from the Home Depot.  Projects on Pinterest just lure me on towards an epic fail. I need a friend.  Someone who has stripped off plenty of wallpaper and can tell varnish from stain at a glance. I need someone to walk alongside me and show me step by step what to do.  Yeah, that might work.

So when we decided to write about prayer, we decided instead of 3 painfully obvious tips or even a how-to tutorial, we'd do something different.  Diving back into the word we examined the prayers recorded there.  We were looking for some of the fathers and mothers of our faith who might walk us through the business of prayer.  Some of those prayers we'd already covered like Hannah's desperate prayer  and the evangelistic prayers of the early Christian sisters.  However the Bible is full of men like Hezekiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter and Daniel, righteous men whose prayers changed the world.

Walk with us in the dusty path of the saints of old.  Hear their prayers with new ears.  Think again of what it would be to pray like them, pray with them.  Because nothing we do day by day matters more than prayer.


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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