Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Pray - Part 1 : To Pray or Not to Pray

Prayer has become the centerpiece of my life. Yet there have been times when I neglected this spiritual discipline. I know from my years in ministry that many otherwise "spiritual" people do not pray - at least not very much. Because I believe that prayer is so vital to a healthy spiritual life, today  I am beginning a series of blogs entitled "How to Pray."

The first rule of prayer is simple: Pray. It is of secondary importance how you pray. What matters is that you pray. Just do it. Decide now that you will pray every day no matter what. Make prayer a priority - as important as other things that you deem necessary to do on a daily basis. As important as eating or drinking, working or sleeping, watching television, exercising, reading the news, or checking Facebook.

To say that you do not have the time to pray is a cop out. We all have time to pray. You have the time because you can pray anytime, anywhere, while doing anything. You can pray while driving your car or eating your breakfast. If you can multi-task doing other things, you can multi-task at prayer.

It is certainly more beneficial if you devote a period of time exclusively to prayer. (We will talk about that later.) But for now it is more important that you begin to pray. If you haven't a clue how to pray, just be as quiet as you can for a little while instead. Don't worry about words.

Pray now. Stop reading this blog, look at the time in the lower right corner of your computer, and for the next two minutes pray....

Good. See, you have already started... some of you, that is. Most of you could not stop reading this blog for two minutes to pray. So once again, look at the time and pray for just one minute. Humor me. Do it this time....

Good, at least some of you did it this time. Now decide that you will pray at least that much every day. Decide that prayer is important enough that you will find time to pray every day - more than just a minute or two.

What is it that keeps us from praying? People give lots of reasons, but I think the fundamental reason is that they are afraid. We are afraid of what we will discover. We are afraid of where prayer will take us. We know intuitively that we will have to face ourselves. That is one thing that most people avoid at all costs.

I will be honest with you; the fear is justified. At first you will not like what you see. You will see what you really are, and you will be shocked. I guarantee it. But if you persevere a little bit, the fear will turn to wonder. You will absolutely love what you find in prayer.

But you have to accept the bad news before you can hear the good news. Most people are not willing to do that. We get a glimpse of our real face in the mirror of our souls, and decide it is better to take the blue pill and stay in the matrix.

Most people are more comfortable living an illusory life of self-deception and ignorance than one of truth and freedom. That is why most people do not pray. But if you want to know the truth and be set free, then take the red pill and pray. You will not be sorry.

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