Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18 – NLT).
Prayer is the one spiritual principle, technology and discipline that I have struggled with all my Christian life. The root of my struggles is really my expectation. If I am praying to a living God, in the way He says I should pray (in the name of Jesus), then naturally I expect answers. I expect results, I expect to produce fruit from my prayer. If this doesn’t happen, and for a very long time it didn’t, then I assume I am praying wrong. I fell in the trap, as most Christians do, of praying religiously based on how we hear other people praying. We adapt the prayer language of those we deem to be more mature in the discipline, and even if it bears little to no fruit, we continue along the same path because we convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing and eventually it will produce something we can look at. Sadly we can live out our entire lives like this, but that’s not something I wanted to do. So, I made it a point of duty to study the discipline of prayer from different sources so I can understand how to do it effectively.
I learned that the most powerful form of prayer for me is contemplative prayer — the conversation I have with God in my heart that is very seldom verbalized. I realize that my verbal prayers are sometimes just a repetition of my heart prayers, and they are most effective when I am absolutely aware of God’s presence in my life, and I talk to Him normally, and best usually when no one else is listening. I also realize that when I pray in a corporate setting, I am more aware of the people listening, than trying to engage God in a conversation, so I end up using all the linguistic metaphors of the religious prayer language and it is usually not very effective. Everybody in church seems to say the same things when they pray, and I guess that is expected in a corporate setting. But if we are to pray always, and in the Spirit, then contemplative prayer must be developed where we are constantly aware of God being present, and we can have a secret conversation going on at all times, in all seasons, under any circumstance that will produce fruit in our lives because God hears and answers those prayers. Try it and see.
Father, thank You that I can be in constant communication with You, and I don’t have to wait until I can make time to pray, but I can engage You anytime, anywhere in the secret chambers of my heart where You sit. May this divine conversation never cease, in Jesus Name. Amen.
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