It’s Time to Pray

This week both the High School and Jr. High students are learning about prayer. Francis Chan reminded us last week that prayer is very much about connectedness. When I talk to God I grow closer to God it’s that simple. Some of the other areas that Francis touched on were that God is our Father. Our spiritual person longs for him as our Father. Francis also discussed God’s power and knowledge. Some might wonder why we should pray when God knows already what He’s going to do and what is going to happen. The answers are complicated but it is clear that prayer changes things and please God. Ephesians 2 says that God has prepared for us good works to do. Some of these good works most likely include prayer. We pray to an almighty God because He hears us and listens to our requests. Let’s look at this some more.
When I was in Jr. High as a homeschooler, I would grab a quick lunch and run down to our community pond and go fishing. On a good day, I could catch two catfish before I had to get back home where I would spent the rest of the day concocting clever ways to avoid my science and math homework. I love fishing but more than that, I love catching fish…unfortunately there’s a difference. I remember as a kid having conversations with God. I felt like a sales person trying to convince the king of the universe that it was in his best interest to make the fish bite. “Please God,” I would say, “If you give me fish, I will be the best follower of you I can be.” 
Sound dumb? It was dumb. God loves to reward His children with good things. we don’t have to twist His arm, blackmail Him, or charm Him. We simply ask in faith and if it’s in our best interest and according to His will, He does it. This may be an oversimplification but for now, I’m OK with that. The amazing thing about my silly fisherman’s prayers was that even though they were selfish and immature God used these times to grow my faith in Him.
Have you ever been in one of those situations where there’s a cool, clever and funny group of people talking and joking around and a not-cool, clever or funny person pipes up and tries to tell a joke or say something. Everyone just kinda looks at him and winces. I know these situations well because I’m usually the dork in the back piping up at exactly the wrong time. “Uh hey guys, I just realized my shoe is on upside-down.” It seems to me, thinking with worldly wisdom, that prayer has to be sort of like that. God is the ultimate cool, clever and funny person. He’s popular and amazing. He’s probably sitting up in heaven talking with Gabriel about his favorite galaxy cluster that he made and all the mysteries of the universe when His secretary pages Him, “Lord,” she says. “You have a call on line one thousand four-hundred seventy.” “Hey there God!” my pubescent crackling voice croaks through the celestial land line. “Hey, I was just wondering if you could make the catfish bite because I’m bored… and also I have a rash under my armpits. Would you take that away? Oh.. and also, could you make Mary-Jane fall in love with me. Thanks.”
There’s an awkward silence in heaven as everyone just stares at the floor. Then one of the angels mutters under his breath. “What an idiot.” 
Thinking as a person of the world, that’s what I would expect from God but this is NOT SO!!! Check out this verse from Roman’s 8 vs 31b-32. “If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not graciously give us all things?” By all things He does not mean whatever we want but whatever is good for us in God’s eyes…. The point is that God is not a snobby cool kid who might take time to shove you in a locker sometime, He is our dad. He waits at the door of our hearts knocking, hoping that we will open the door and spend time with Him. He loves to listen to our thoughts and requests simply because He loves us. My silly prayers at the pond years ago may have been selfish and immature but so are my prayers now! In comparison with the thoughts and ways of the God of the universe, they are so lame. But God loves them. I wouldn’t take back those prayers for anything.
I hope that this week you will pray to God. Tell Him you want some fish or Mary-Jane to fall in love with you…OK maybe not the second one. Tell Him how you are, Thank Him for loving you. You will discover that it becomes the most important part of your day.

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