Voices of Faith: Simple prayers

Prayer is our life line to God.

I remember as a new father when my son started to learn to walk he balked at being in the stroller when we went to the mall or somewhere else that had a lot of neat things to see. It soon became clear that I would lose track of him if I allowed him to wander as he wished. So being a new dad and not having a clue how to deal with this I went to Walmart and looked for a solution. I soon found a leash contraption that I could strap to my child and hold the other end. This allowed him to have some freedom and for me to still have some control.

Even now I shudder a little bit when I think that I “leashed” my child; but for whatever reason it worked for us for that time. It did not work well with my next three children.

Say what you want to about the “leashing” of children it has clear and obvious analogies to our own Christian lives. That leash or tether that we have through the Holy Spirit is the ability to be in constant contact with the creator of the universe. That is a powerful concept! Just a cursory reading in the New Testament on the subject of prayer brings this out in a clear and crazy way.

Most Christians have a poor and in some cases a distorted view of prayer. Some think that there is some heavenly switchboard that is constantly receiving calls and that there is a hierarchy or a priority system. For instance, a little girl praying for ice cream after a dinner out with family is somehow a lower priority than the boy in Haiti that is starving and is praying that today will be the day that he eats. We can easily prioritize these two prayers but the crazy part is that God does not. He listens to both prayers and answers both in His way and according to His will. Both prayers are important to Him and He takes both requests seriously.

Now I may have used a simplistic example but you can see that when Jesus says; “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Mathew 16:19) He means it! He even repeated this later in the same gospel Matthew 18:18.

Prayer changes things because He has called us to be His image bearers here on earth. We are chosen to be His agents of change in this dark and dying world. We bear the words of life from His lips and when we pray for anything He listens.

Look at some of these simple prayers:

— Noah – You want me to build what…

— Abraham – You want me to go where…

— Jacob – How many kids…

— Moses – What name shall I use when I go to the people…

— Joshua – How do I take down the city of Jericho? – No really I need a battle plan…

— Mary – How can this be since I am a virgin…

— Joseph – O.K. Lord I will Marry Mary no questions asked the child is yours…

— John the Baptist – Behold the Lamb of God…

— Peter – You are the Christ the son of the Living God…

— A desperate father with a son afflicted with a strange disease – Lord I believe, please help my unbelief…

And on and on the list can go. Some of the names and “prayers” are paraphrased or comedic but the point is that God loves when we talk to Him and He loves short simple prayers. Sometimes just a simple recognition that He is God and in control, like what Thomas said when confronted with the risen Jesus: “My Lord and my God!”

Paul teaches in Romans 8: 26-27; “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” In short even when we don’t know what to say He still hears our heart cry and is there for us. So when thinking on prayer … KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Pastor AL Weeks and his family serve in First Baptist Church of Kenai. FBCK is a warm fellowship of believers that are committed to speaking the truth in love. Join them Sunday mornings at 10:45 a.m.

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