confession: prayer can sometimes be obnoxious.
the way i figure it, worship should be a lifestyle, we can all agree on this i think. nowadays people hear "worship" and immediately think "music". that is a form, yes, but worship is a way of life; it is an every moment of every day affair, not just when some guy stands in front of a congregation and starts playing "God of Wonders". i think most people have heard that view and idea before. its not a new one.
but this isn't about worship. its about prayer. the way i figure it, prayer should be a lifestyle as well. i think prayer, just like worship, has become ritual. we pray before meals. we pray before bed. we pray before, during, and after church services. some Christian schools pray before each class period. but why? do we do it because we are in complete reverence and communication with God? or do we do it because we must? what is our motivation for prayers like these? is it holy or is it ritual?
sometimes in community prayer i feel like people (myself not excluded) try their hardest to use eloquent language and coat their conversation with God with some sort of candied church language. i also sometimes feel a great deal of pressure to pray at times when i don't truly feel led to pray. think back to the last time you heard the phrase, "does someone want to pray to close?" thus begins the 5 to 10 second awkward pause (depending on how patient the crowd is) until finally someone offers themselves to take one for the team. why do we do this? why do we require ourselves to pray in certain settings? i can't stand forced prayer. there is little or no reverence in it and God certainly doesn't need it. He deserves it, but he doesn't need it. it isn't as if God doesn't like it when we force one up to Him, but does he want them?
7 -15 "Are you listening, dear people? I'm getting ready to speak;
Israel, I'm about ready to bring you to trial.
This is God, your God,
speaking to you.
I don't find fault with your acts of worship,
the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer.
But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull,
or more and more goats from your herds?
Every creature in the forest is mine,
the wild animals on all the mountains.
I know every mountain bird by name;
the scampering field mice are my friends.
If I get hungry, do you think I'd tell you?
All creation and its bounty are mine.
Do you think I feast on venison?
or drink draughts of goats' blood?
Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you're in trouble—
I'll help you, and you'll honor me."
what want would He have for our offerings? what desire? he knows our thoughts, is there any need for us to lift up illegitimate prayers his way? he doesn't rebuke them, but He doesn't delight in them. what He does delight in is banquets of praise. banquets! are these pre-dinner/pre-church/pre-meal/pre-class prayers coming in banquet form? i'd consider them a light snack...maybe. like you're giving him half a grape or something like one Lay's potato chip. betcha can' t eat just one, but betcha like to tease God with one of them and don't offer up any more. He desires and deserves much more: banquets. a Thanksgiving dinner's worth of prayer. imagine the scene from the first harry potter movie when Dumbledore casts his food o' plenty spell and 900 different steaming plates of glitzy meats appear on 4 football field length tables for all the kids to devour. that should be our prayers to God. that is what delights in and that is what He desires.
we also can honor God when we call out to him. when we're at the end of our rope and we scream out to God for help, he not only helps us, but we honor him when we search for him. he loves it when we need Him, we honor Him when we look to Him for assistance and He is anxious for us to need Him. heartfelt and honest prayers directly from the soul - he doesn't want candied churchese prayers; he wants outcries. honest. painful. legitimate. gut wrenching. He is there and He is overjoyed when we want Him as much as he wants us.
prayer (and worship as well) has become ritual, desensitized and rarely sacred. application? maybe it is making prayer a constant part of our lives. maybe it is humbling ourselves and needing God at all times and holding a continuous conversation with Him every single day. maybe, instead of having the occasional "Big-Gulps-esque" conversations with Him, we make it an all day affair; when we wake up in the morning we say something like, "sup God?." and then we end our day with, "welp. talk to you in the morning." that doesn't leave room for half-a-grape prayers. it is a lifestyle, just like worship.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 - "pray without ceasing."
every moment. every day. never stop. pray without ceasing.
so...does someone want to pray to keep us going?...........k thanks.