The Keys to Prayer
Under the category of...
"So you think you're having a bad day?"
It was a lovely Saturday. Maybe a bit on the rainy side, but who cares when you load up the family in the family mini-van and head out to the nearest Super-Target! And that's what we did. Me, my wife, and my four kids happily strolled the aisles imagining life with big screen TV's, new clothes, and home improvement stuff that I don't know how to use but would look cool on my garage shelf.
Notice I said "imagining", because that's about all we could do given our "tighter than a drum" budget. Well, my daughter did buy some shoes and got a Starbucks, but that's pretty mandatory for a teenager in shopping mode.
So we're on our way to the mini-van when life suddenly switched on the improbability drive. My one year old son was holding on to my wife's keys - and, mind you, he normally holds them with a grip that would make Chuck Norris proud. But for some strange reason he decided to test the theory of gravity, so he let them go.
Normally, not a problem. Which is what we thought when we heard the "clink" of keys hitting the ground. Except they didn't hit the ground, because at that exact moment we just happened to be standing over a storm drain that was covered with a grate which had narrow openings across it.
Our keys found the narrow opening and made their merry way to the bottom of the drain, and we then realized that life was about to become very difficult. No, not even the super people at Super-Target could help...for the drain was too narrow for man or beast. No, we don't have an extra set...for my stupidity sometimes knows no bounds.
So as we stood there, in the rain, with screaming-tired-hungry-irritable kids and adults, certain philosophical thoughts came my way. Well, my first thoughts weren't exactly philosophical, but after I confessed and repented, that's when the deep concepts came my way. Since we lost our keys in the one and only one square foot of space in all of Super-Target land, I reasoned this:
There are no coincidences in the Kingdom of God.
Really. I don't believe things happen by accident, especially for Christians who regularly engage in the highest privilege God has given us:
Fact is, prayer connects us with God, then God connects us with His purpose and plan. I know people who tell me they lack the motivation to pray. I think this is a fairly big motivator, don't you? When you pray, you change the whole landscape of your life from random events pieced together by the ticking of the clock to meaningful scenarios guided by the very hand of God. Here's the way the Bible puts it:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
One of the *big* ways you show your love for God is by talking to Him. When you do, you open the door to a whole new world where He causes everything to come out A-OK.
OK? So hopefully I've motivated you to pray, so the question then becomes: how? I mean, isn't prayer some supersecretspiritual mumbojumbo code that only highly trained people know?
Ah, no. Prayer is simply talking to God, and I'm going to give you four talking points 1 that will point the way to an awesome prayer life! The four talking points with God are:
As you can see, these are fairly self-explanatory. Gimme is where you humbly and sincerely ask God for what you need:
You do not have, because you do not ask God (James 4:2)
For me, it was "please God, gimme a way to get these keys out."
Then comes the oops part. This is where you honestly and genuinely tell God you are sorry for the wrong thing or things you just did:
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. (1 John 1:9)
Of course, my oops was the laundry list of, how can I say it, "words" that would land me on Santa's naughty list.
Now on to thanks and wow. Believe me, you have something you can thank God for every minute of every day. If you don't believe me, just keep in mind Who it is that is keeping you breathing right now. The 'wow' factor is letting God know how amaaaazing He is for loving you, forgiving you, providing for you, and on and on and on.
Oh, you want to know the rest of the story? It went something like this:
"Thanks God, for my friend who gave me the idea to buy a nuclear powered magnet and send it down the drain on some rope with a hope and a prayer."
(10 minutes later)
WOW God! It actually worked! Wow again! You saved me hundreds of dollars and entertained dozens of people who watched a grown man lay down on a sidewalk and stick his head down a drain while swinging a magnet on a rope.
I was thinking that one day I would ask God why He allowed that all to happen, but after writing this, I think I know...
And I think you know too!
Head: What you need to know about this truth
Prayer connects us with God and His purposes, so we should regularly be involved with gimme, oops, thanks, and wow.
Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
You should feel excited and amazed that you have the privilege of talking to God and being connected to what He is doing in the world. You should also feel highly motivated to pray.
Hands: What you need to do about this truth
Set aside a specific time every day where you can get alone and go through the four talking points of prayer. Pretty soon you'll be stunned at how seemingly random events become the fingerprints of God!