I’m must admit… I’m feeling pretty guilty.
During a time of prayer at church one night, I looked around at what everyone else was doing. One person was looking at her hands, probably her fingernails. One person was taking a drink of his soda. Someone else was picking her nose (no joke) and a couple of people were looking at their phones, undoubtedly checking on Facebook or Twitter or some other social media.
As the pastor was praying, I was sitting there and staring at these people thinking, “What aren’t you focusing on praying right now!?!” Quickly, I realized that I’m on the same boat they are in and I’m probably the captain of the boat, driving the down the river of distraction.
How quickly I was able to look at someone else’s faults and completely ignore my own really shocked me and it leads me to think about this question that we all probably need to be asking ourselves.
Do we take prayer seriously enough? Or does something as simple as a booger or a tweet distract us from having a conversation with God?
I have noticed, both at church and at home, that prayer is becoming either becoming another routine or a buffer. But I believe that prayer should be so much more meaningful than what we have made it be.
I have taken some time to look at what the bible says about prayer; specifically, the examples that Jesus showed us about prayer.
Jesus took prayer seriously. It wasn’t a buffer, it wasn’t a time filler, it wasn’t routine.
Example #1: Jesus took prayer seriously by praying often.
Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. | Luke 5:16
We see several times in the bible that Jesus took the time to pray, many times He went into the mountains to talk with God. He carved out time in His schedule, which I’m sure was busy just like you and me, and got on His knees to pray.
Too regularly, we either rush through prayers or simple pass altogether with the excuse that “He already knows what I’m about to pray about anyways…”. Yet, Jesus showed us by example that, not only are we to pray but that we are to commit to praying so much that we often go off to pray.
Which leads to the next example.
Example #2: Jesus took prayer seriously by praying alone.
.. [Jesus] went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there
alone. | Matthew 14:2
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. | Mark 1:35
Not only did Jesus often go to pray, He often went to pray alone. He removed himself from distractions. He took Himself away from people, away from the city, away from His work, away from computers, phones, TV, and stores. He got up and left behind anything that could distract Him from being 100% focused on God.
Alright, even if He didn’t have to leave behind all that other stuff, that just means that there are even more distractions that can keep us from fully having a relational building conversation with the God of the universe. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be even more important for you and me to remove ourselves from the stuff that distracts us from prayer?
Example #3: Jesus took prayer seriously by teaching the importance of praying consistently.
Jesus told his disciples… that they should always pray and never give up. | Luke 18:1
When talking with His disciples, Jesus told them to pray consistently. He knew what the disciples were about to face. He knew the hardships and struggles that lay ahead of them. He knows of the stuff that is in front of us. He knows what we are going through right now.
His lesson for us is simple, keep praying.
Our consistent prayers are a form of obedience towards God. He offers up our faith and obedience and in return, we get answers to our prayers and the grace and mercy that He is willing to give to us.
(To clarify, praying consistently, in obedience to God, does not mean that we will eventually get everything we ask for. We need to make sure that we are praying for God’s Will, and not our own. Consistently praying to win the lottery doesn’t mean that you will one day win the lottery.)
I know I need to work on making prayer a more serious one. I need to work on not becoming so easily distracted and carving out specific time in my busy, hectic day to remove myself and pray. What do you need to work on?
e all need to be more intentional about our prayer time. Realizing who exactly we are praying to. God is not just one of our buddies that we talk to about sports, food, cute girls and cute boys. God is the creator of the universe. He is the orchestrator of our lives. He is in control of everything single piece of matter in this world.
If we remind ourselves of who we are actually praying to before we pray, then we will probably begin to take prayer much more seriously and be way more intentional about that time.
I want to encourage you to make prayer a serious part of your life. Pray often. Pray by yourself. Pray consistently.
Jesus obviously took praying to God extremely seriously and if we are to follow in His example, then we should also take prayer as seriously as He did.
Peace and Grace