I love to wander over to the dictionary and see the actual definitions of the words I casually throw around-
Here's a surprise--we can live in poverty--in want--in need of things other than financial resources. We can have a poverty of relationships, a poverty of experience, a poverty of wisdom, and on and on. When some basic need of mankind or in fact anything is lacking or in extremely low supply, we are in poverty.
While listening to this week's lesson in Church, I was convicted of living in a poverty of prayer. OH, sure, I pray, but sometimes those prayers are a quick Hail Mary when someone asks for prayer and at others, it's the Readers Digest Condensed Version after a long exhausting day minutes before my mind wanders off to Dream Land. And then there is the intentional prayer time when my mind wanders to the grocery list, my list of to-do's, the cob web in the corner, or any other minimal distraction.
I have a really wonderful friend, that I think the world of. We have a long standing relationship and I know her life story backwards and forwards. I have even read her diary. Unfortunately in this busy world, we never have time to talk anymore. In fact, except for the brief text occasionally in moments of crisis, I have not had a long conversation with her in years. I love her--really I do--but I just don't seem to have time to communicate with her anymore. Our relationship has suffered and with each passing day, I feel further and further away from the closeness we once shared. Without communication, we soon will only have the memory of a once beautiful relationship.
So it is with God. Without prayer we will not have a relationship with God. It is not enough to read the book, know the story, we actually have to communicate with Him or it all becomes one sided. As the High Reverend said, "If we don't pray, we either think too highly of ourself or too lowly of God. " OH GROAN--kicked me right in the gut!
We were challenged to go back to the basics as demonstrated in Luke 11. I loved his proclamation to pray with shameless desperation or bold rudeness. We should become immodest in our request when a need is settled in our heart. We have no choice but to ask, seek, knock with persistence. We will not necessarily received what we ask for, but instead will receive what we truly need.
Pray with full confidence in God's goodness, we should remember He withholds no GOOD thing from those who walk in integrity. (Emphasis on good!) In fact, "God is more willing to give than we are to ask." Convicting! God is willing to give us Himself when we pray. The question was asked, "Why does He make us ask if it is good for us?" Another of those Holy mysteries, BUT the asking, the seeking, the knocking, the waiting, the crying--all that goes along with pleading to God are all good gifts meant to transform us as we recognize the Giver of All Good things and our need for His provision.
We pray because of The Gospel. The gift of prayer should be carefully stewarded and practiced with regularity. We were encouraged to commit to one week of twice daily prayer time. Go back and read the Lord's prayer and model your early practices after the model given by Jesus. Pray for God's Glory, God's Provision, God's Forgiveness, and Spiritual Protection. Find a closet, a corner, a quiet nook and begin to form the habit with a one week's commitment. Writing my prayers has proven to be a great way to keep my mind on what I am doing.
Time to leave the need of poverty behind and live in the riches of a deeper relationship with the One who loves you best. I am thankful for the challenges God places in my life through the words and wisdom of others. Now to live the rich life of excessive prayer!
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation