I’ve become increasingly obsessed with the idea of prayer.
I can’t stop thinking about it. Prayer. It’s such a powerful word by itself, reminding me of all the times I’ve prayed for my siblings growing up when they were hurt or sick, all the times I’ve prayed before a meal, all the times I’ve been asked to pray aloud at a Bible study, all the times I prayed aloud in the car on the way to school growing up. It makes me think of lowered heads and closed eyes, outstretched palms and wet cheeks. It makes me think of all the times I’ve breathed “Oh God help me” in hard times. It makes me think of the times I would walk past the prayer room as a kid and hear my friend’s mom praying louder than anyone else and thinking “dang, that takes guts.” It makes me think of all the times I ran into my parents bedroom after jolting awake from a bad dream to be consoled by a prayer. I think of all the times prayer has been a powerful defense against evils; small evils, big evils, all evils.
But God has placed on my heart the idea of offensive prayer. Our world is crumbling, rotting away. I’m scared. I’ve told God many times that I’d like Him to just come back now. Take me away from this mess. I don’t want to live on this broken planet anymore, not that I’m any better than anyone on it, only that the brokenness itself seems to great to heal. I don’t want to think about it, much less come before God on behalf of it. I want out.
Instead, He whispered, “Pray.”
Since His ways and timing are perfect, I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer. Prayer forces you to face reality. It forces you to see humanity as it is: broken. To see yourself as you truly are: in need of a Savior. Prayer is more important than we realize, whether we are ready to face brutal reality or not.
Christians need to pray. We have gotten really good a worship, really good at close community, really good at preaching about tithes and offerings, really good at coming up with cool sermon titles, and really good at pretending we are best friends with Jesus. But we’ve forgotten the importance of prayer. We’ve forgotten the arsenal of weaponry we have tucked neatly under our belts, rusted from lack of use.
I don’t mean “Thank you Jesus for this day. Please help me to have a good day and get good grades, Amen.” To be honest, that’s been my go-to prayer for years. I don’t mean sitting silently in church pretending to pray along with the pastor as he prays for more money.
No. No, I mean a weapon. I mean offensive, powerful, desperate prayer.
As children of God, we have the ability to speak with God. If that doesn’t blow your freaking mind, I don’t know what will. Prayer is a conversation, meaning there is Someone else at the end of our pleadings. We are speaking to the Creator of the universe, God Almighty, the One who breathed life into our very lungs, and with that life comes the power to break down strongholds and powers of the enemy.
I don’t care if this makes me sound like a crazy Jesus freak, because if you haven’t noticed already, I am one. But we need to pray for our brothers and sisters, for our nation, for our world, and for our very souls. I can’t help but feel like something huge is about to happen, something that will shake believers to the core and some will lose their grip if they aren’t prayed up. Something is coming that will forces us to make a decision. It’s not too late to start, but we have to choose God wholeheartedly, and then pray, pray, pray!
We need to pray against demons and sickness and evil and strife. Against loneliness and false idols and weakness and lawlessness.
We need to pray for strength and courage and bravery and purity. For humility and justice and wisdom and integrity.
We have to pray for the greatest thing to happen to our brothers and sisters in Christ: for them (and ourselves) to know God more and for their souls (and our own) to become increasingly Christ-centered.
And I think the biggest reason why Christians aren’t praying like they should is because prayer is a conversation, and you don’t speak daily with someone you don’t know. You are either getting to know them, or you aren’t talking. Start getting to know God.