I wrote the bulk of this post Saturday morning. That evening we went to dinner with some friends and the subject of prayer came up and man, it was like God went from a gentle nudge to a solid thump on my back. It was a conversation that brought about some startling awareness and conviction that I am still sorting out. I hope you will be encouraged and challenged to consider your own prayer life. Prayer is a deep and mysterious fountain of intimacy between God and his people but also a source of intimacy within our human relationships. I may not know exactly what God is doing right now with all the various parts and pieces of things in my life but I know he is doing something. Somehow, prayer is a big part of that.
In his book The Weight of Glory CS Lewis says, “It would seem, that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
That quote came to mind this week as I was reading the book of John as part of the Summer Bible Reading Challenge, specifically chapters fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen. In each chapter he specifically tells his disciples that whatever they ask for in his name he will do it. Three of the four times it is mentioned in the context of working, abiding, and bearing fruit. The fourth time he tells them that the Father will grant what they ask in his name so that their joy might be full.
It’s clear that Jesus isn’t giving them, or us, a blank check to ask for materials things necessarily, although those things aren’t out of the realm of possibility. Rather we are to ask for anything that will bring honor and glory to the Father through us. We also know from James that often we don’t get what we ask for because we ask for the wrong things or for the wrong reasons.
I don’t know about you but sometimes I don’t think I know what I ought to pray for, not for myself or others. I read about people like George Mueller and Amy Carmichael and marvel at the faith they displayed in their prayer life.
I mean, I know what to pray for sometimes for myself and others. Sometimes it is just generic basic stuff. Other times there are specific needs so it’s easy to know what and how to pray.
But this week I am wondering if I am too easily satisfied with the quick prayer, with the first words, even Bible verses, that come to mind so readily. What do I really want to pray for in the lives of my husband and my children? My extended family and my friends? My church? Myself?
I guess I am wondering if my prayers have been half-hearted in a sense because I have failed to imagine what God can do, what he would do, beyond just the practical. I think that kind of prayer life, the one that is full and robust and hopeful, must also be one rooted in the Word. The prayer life that flourishes is one born out of abiding in Christ. It comes from a life that is bearing the fruit of righteousness that comes from him. It is a life that feeds on the Word and dares to pray big things because it is a life that knows God is infinitely bigger than whatever it can imagine.
May we not be too easily pleased, to easily satisfied, with basic prayers. May our prayers find us stepping into the vast ocean of promises God gives to his people, swimming in every spiritual blessing in heavenly places that he has given us.