Jared Brock took a yearlong 37,000-mile journey around the world to learn how to pray. He danced with Hasidic Jews, discovered the 330 year of home of Brother Lawrence, Practice the Presence of God. He attended the world’s largest church in Seoul Korea and meets the Pope for lunch.
Along the journey recorded in his recent book, “The Year of Living Prayerfully” he has incredible experiences listening to people talk about prayer. Though it he begins to understand the wide open world of living prayerfully.
One of his conclusion is:
“Prayer is the main dish and everything else is gravy”
I believe this!
Jerrod learned prayer by listening for one-year to people who prayed.
If we are honest we all are novices, we are all novices when it comes to prayer. We don’t know what we are doing and we may not really understand the God to whom we are talking. It’s a good thing that God doesn’t judge our prayers. But he helps our prayers. We pray, “Lord help me learn how to pray- so it really makes a difference.”
The apostle Paul encourages us with these words,
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26
Living prayerfully? It’s learning how to pray. Not assuming I already know.
It’s like learning anything.
· First you have to hear about it. Learn about it observe it.
· Then you practice it.
· Lastly, it just becomes a part of what you do. You live it. It becomes a part of you.
We live in a most anxious time. Do you feel it?
…the prevailing anxiety in our culture of anxiety?
So many of people have an anxiousness that is right below the surface of their lives. Think of the tensions between the haves and have not’s, the tensions between races, the tension between political views. Anxiousness is everywhere.
I believe this must be resisted.
When people are anxious, all sorts of bad stuff shows up. They complain and swear and curse. Did you ever notice how complaining when things go wrong robs you of your joy? Living prayerfully stops me in my tracks. Damning things that go wrong, swearing at people who act stupidly, what does it do to me? When I humble myself before God and pray, I acknowledge that everything I do and say is in the presence of God.
The world doesn’t need our anger or compliant, it needs our prayer. Living prayerfully reorients our hearts away from whining and complaining to gratefulness. We need to pray:
· When we’re tired and keep telling ourselves how weary we are.
· When we’re frustrated and want everyone to know it.
· When we just can’t see a way through.
· When life is going good.
How do we pray for the things that cause us anxiety? That can be tough, there is a lot to be anxious about! I know I have had to work thought it. But the apostle Paul gives us good advice when facing anxious times.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV
An anxious heart prevents us from receiving from God. How so? It weighs us down. God peace and presence cannot enter. Anxiousness is relieved in a country when its people look to God in prayer. Anxiety is refocused on God though prayer. The Message says it this way,
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:7
Anxiety is relieved as we allow God to lift our needs.
It moves us from anxiousness to faith! Living prayerfully is to live non-anxiously.
Living prayerfully and not anxiously is three things.
· Firstly, you hear what the Lord is saying to you in his word. To live prayerfully is to listen to God saying “lay your anxious heart down”.
· Then you practice praying with faith and not worry as the driver in your life. Anxious prayer does us no good. To pray without worry- pray without the anxiety we are so prone to let drive us - is a habit to be learned.
· Lastly, you live it. It becomes a part of you.
What if this coming year you and I determine to live prayerfully and never to let our prayers and our daily lives be driven by any kind of worry? Anticipate how life changing that will be.