Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Do I Pray?

"The heartbeat of Fusion is Acts 2:42." Johnson Bowie focuses on the fourth element of this passage; prayer. Many times, people check out when we get to the subject of prayer because we think its boring. When we pray sometimes, it's like sending an email into space. So when we don't get answers, its like the server went down. We relate prayer, basically, to our own understanding. We think prayer is a ritual for monks or snake handlers. In our own prayer time, we act as though God always has the volume turned up on his side to speak. Nobody teaches us how to pray, right? Do we make a list and then do it? Do we imitate those we've heard? What does it mean to live a life FUELED by prayer? This is what God wants for us!

"I don't think God gives us stickers and balloons for good behavior....I want to be able to go into prayer and encounter the God of the Universe!" Our motivation to go into prayer has to be to know Christ. Really, when we get to know Christ, we swap our addictions of life for an addiction to Christ. THEN our life becomes fueled by prayer. This is then what keeps us coming back to prayer! It comes from our desire from within to know Christ. But at the end of the day, we don't know how to pray because we've disconnected ourselves from prayer.

Matthew 4:4 says that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." This suggests that we inately starve inside when we are separated from Him. We become surrounded by the FAKE of life. But when you come into contact with something REAL, it does something inside you. We have to have HIS Words. Most of us don't live in the place of Living from the Word of God. Our definition of prayer can be really narrow; we are down here and God is way up there. So, we just send our prayers up. But we need to know that God is right here and he wants to know us like a husband loves a wife. What would it be like if we talked to our spouses like we sometimes talked to God? It would be TERRIBLE, right? It would be FAKE.

God calls us to (Leviticus 6:13) to keep the fire on our altar ever burning. Sometimes we throw a single log on and walk away from it for a week! But if we don't clear off the ashes (Leviticus 6:10) of last week's church service or last months prayer conference, the fire goes out! You have to keep on feeding it and going back to that place of prayer. The moment we cut a flower, it begins to die. God is ALWAYS moving, not just in the single encounters that we remember from way back.  (picture courtesy of Lighthouse Church)

In Matthew, when the disciples ask how we should pray, Jesus basically responded by saying to communicate with God, pray for others and pray for ourselves. Praying for ourselves, we sometimes leave out because we feel funny focusing just on us. But in order to feel comfortable here, we have to have an ongoing relationship with our Creator. How can we ask Him for things when we don't know Him? Secondly, Jesus tells us to pray for others. But this includes our enemies! Bless those who curse us and pray for those who spitefully use us. Sometimes we pray for ourselves to tolerate those around us.  We say things like "God, give me patience to handle them."  While this is okay, pray for them to know Him! As we pray for others who persecute us, WE begin to change and it becomes easier for US to forgive them. Also, the more we pray for them, the more we get to know God's heart.

Johnson assures everyone here that prayer can be very hard to do on a regular basis. He confesses that he is not that good at it. But he wants us to know we're not alone when we are not "transported to another place" in the moment of prayer. Prayer can just be hard especially when we are tired.

In closing, he talks about his three year old who asks for help in drawing an airplane and how Johnson will hold his hand, which goes limp, and through the power of the father and submission of his son's hand, they will create an airplane together. That's how God is. We can rely on the strength of God. We can seek His forgiveness and even give ourselves a break from our past. We can run to Him, get His comfort, His words, His answers and then we can charge into life with Him and His blessings!

Video courtesy of Youtube's mysticmom4

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