My new understanding is slowing bringing about a change to my prayer life. No longer are my prayers a laundry list of “I want” with a little “keep the people in my life safe” sprinkled in. Instead I’m starting to realize prayer is our way of saying “God, you’re the greatest.” He doesn’t need our prayers. He does have it all planned out; I have a lot more confidence in his ability to control things than my own. He’ll provide for us whether we pray or not. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).
Prayer is our way of thanking and acknowledging God. You expect your children to be mildly appreciative of the sacrifices you make and things you give; we should do no less for God. But prayer by itself isn’t enough. It needs to be coupled with meditation. Just like our children need a good talking too every once in a while, we need to sit down, shut up and listen to what God wants to tell us. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).
There are many ways God speaks to us:
- Sermon / messages at church
- A word from people who care about us
- A word from strangers
- Church signs (c’mon, you know you’ve read a church sign that seemed to directly address a problem you were have at that exact moment)
- Insights from children
- Insights from wiser people in our lives
- The still voice inside of us
I am sure there are others, but one thing all of these ideas have in common is they require us to be quiet, be still, look and listen. Just like we expect our children to sit down and pay attention when we speak, God expects the same from us.