praying is a privilege, not a punishment!

I’m the first to admit that I don’t have the gift of intercession… apparently this gift skipped a generation… both my grandmothers and my mom were amazing prayer warriors.  When I was a little girl, I would find my mom praying in another room or even in a closet in the mornings.  My paternal grandmother used to tell me that she would start praying at 5 am, and by the time she was finished praying for all of her children and grandchildren, it was time to eat breakfast, 8 am!  Wow… i used to think “how in the world does my grandma pray for three hours?”  I remember keeping track of how long my prayers were in high school… It felt like I had achieved a huge task when I prayed over 15 minutes!

I admired people like my mom and my grandmas who had the gift of intercession… because no matter how hard I tried, I just found it hard to pray so much… I would even feel bad that when dire situations came up, the last thing on my mind was prayer… My outlook on prayer drastically changed summer of 1997.  I took an intensive class on prayer that summer.  I learned a lot that summer… but i walked away with 2 major take-away!

  1. Prayer isn’t to change God’s will, but to align my will to His will.  It’s to change me, NOT God!
  2. Prayer is just as simple as talking to God!!!

Somewhere along the line, it was communicated to me that prayer consisted of me kneeling next to my bed or sitting on my bed, with my eyes closed, head bowed, hands together, and using prayer lingo so God can understand what I was saying… It  might be true that all these things help you focus on God.  For me, this was a distraction… I was more concerned with my form than what I was actually saying to God.  I can talk to my friends for hours (yes, I have been on the phone for 6 hours w/ a friend in high school), why can’t I talk to God for more than 15 minutes?  Over time, I decided to abandon all my preconceived understanding of prayer… and just talk to God!

Now, I talk to God when I’m driving (yes, with my eyes open!), when I’m getting ready in the morning, when I’m cooking, even in front of tv sometimes, and pretty much whenever something comes to mind.  I took the formality out of prayer, and just started talking to Him as if He is right next to me all the time… oh wait, He IS there all the time!!!  😀  I still struggle with formal prayer time, but prayer is no longer feels like a burden or a punishment.

This is also something I have tried to teach the kids in my ministry.  We have prayed with our eyes open, we have prayed using one-word each, we have shouted our prayers, we have written our prayers to God, etc…  because at the end of the day, it’s not about how we pray…  it’s about TALKING to God about everything!!!

In the past two weeks, I have received half  dozen emails from friends and family who have asked me to pray on their behalf regarding ill family members, job situation, and other difficult situations in life!  I consider it an honor and a privilege to be asked to talk to God for them!!!  And every time I remember, I DO talk to God about you and your situation!!!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  (Philippians 4:6,  NLT)

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