My spiritual director once challenged me to think about my theology of prayer. What was the deal with prayer and God to me?
So, I thought and prayed. Seemed the place to start. I came up with three things that explain my understanding of prayer.
First, anyone can pray.
It doesn’t take special words, a particular location or a certain body posture. Prayer is a lot more than what we see in church. Sometimes we think of prayer as limited to grace at meals, worship services in church and meetings of a few old ladies in the church parlour. But prayer is so much more and so much more accessible to everyone!
And in the book of James, it says,
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. (5:17-18)
Anyone can pray.
Second, prayer connects us with God and we are impacted.
I believe that God is there and listening. That’s huge. Think of it by itself, the Creator of all, the One, the Trinity, the omni-everything is listening to us.
He, through the Holy Spirit, gives us the desire to pray. And He grants us the access to pray. Even those who may not have a relationship with God have the opportunity to be heard. God does speak to people before they find Him. And the Holy Spirit does empower people to seek God even before they find Him. Otherwise no one ever would!
But it is also by a relationship with God through Jesus that we have connection to God. And God being God. Being connected with Him has to impact us.
Connecting with God has to impact us.
He’s not a pizza delivery man. Our encounter with a pizza delivery man means we get a pizza. Good, bad or indifferent pizza is something we might remember but not the delivery man. But like touching a live electrical wire, we cannot ‘touch’ God and not be impacted.
In Philippians we find,
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (1:21)
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss [a]in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ (3:7-8)
God is God. He can’t help but impact us.
Third, connection with God propels us to express His Kingdom.
This thought takes me back to a month of leave I took a few years ago and in that time I had my calling to make disciples renewed. That is a strong call on my life and one that God has renewed over and over. Specifically, the renewal I received was to help people connect with God. Connection with God is powerful. And it’s from connection with God that His kingdom gets expressed. Remember connecting with Him impacts us and then we get to spread that impact.
William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Graham, John Perkins, Mother Teresa, and millions of believers around the world have encountered God and His kingdom has been proclaimed, lived out and advanced.
St. Paul writes,
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.
Anyone can pray.
Prayer connects us with God and we are impacted.
Connection with God propels us to express His kingdom.