Last September, Dan Heavenor spoke in church about prayer. Several things deeply resonated with me. Two things in particular were very helpful. Firstly, if conversations with friends only start becoming good and “meaty” after 20 minutes, why would it be any different with God? Secondly, Jesus does not need our words; it’s OK to just be quiet and listen.
I felt convicted that I was neither spending enough time with God, nor listening to him as closely as I should. When the Cultivating Life challenge came around, it seemed obvious that my commitment would be to incorporate both of these things into my daily life.
Four months later, I am only just beginning to work out how to do this regularly. My prayer times usually come after Bible reading, allowing me to start from a very good place – responding to God’s Word. It’s finding a block of time for prayer that is very challenging. I am learning that prayer can be (and probably should be) an ongoing conversation, and it does not have to start and finish in one sitting.
One more thing. I have also come to realize that my prayers have tended to focus on supplication, or asking for things. Towards the end of Matthew 6, Jesus says (from The Message):
"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never seen - don't you think He will attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
So when I pray “Give us today our daily bread”, if I believe what Jesus said in the passage above that God knows what I need and will provide, I will not have to focus on telling God what I need. Instead I can think about what Mt 6:33 means: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”.
Husband to Anne, and father to Adrian and Fiona, Leslie spends way too much time on the soccer field for someone who does NOT play the game. Trained as an engineer and employed as a banker, he tries to indulge his creative side with sketching and picture-taking, with only modest success. While he looks a little unfriendly at times, he would love to get to know you - so please stop him to say "hello".