I have been asked to lead a session on prayer for a faith exploration group which will run tonight. To be honest, I find prayer difficult- not because I don’t believe it works or because I struggle with the idea of how God can cope with handling millions of prayers from billions of hopeful and desperate people- but because I am a bit of a prayer fatalist I suppose. You see, I truly believe God knows what I need , and knows that I know what I need, so when I pray I tend to do so about everybodyelsebut me. I guess it’s because I have trouble thinking my needs are important enough to go ahead of others in the celestial prayer in-box. I thank God for all those prayer warriors who’ve prayed for me and my family regularly for decades, and for the structure and content of the Lord’s prayer which in some form or another I seem to say every day which also asks for help. I’ve read scores of books on prayer- Prayer for amateurs; How not to pray; Too busy not to pray; Prayer in your pocket; The nations favourite prayers and the aptly entitled Rough Ways in Prayer. All these have been helpful and for each day during the past year I have relied on Nick Fawcett’s Daily Prayerto provide a structure for kicking off my day in prayer, but somehow I’m not the most natural and regular of prayer people. Believe it or not, the daily disciplineof mainatining this blog has improved my prayer life no end by thinking about some of the things I am experiencing and then trying to translate them for you in a meaningful way.
Then yesteday my spouse said something that struck a chord; “You know you just don’t seem to make enough effort to talk much anymore. Why is it our conversations only last a couple of minutes and then you’re back into your book, meeting, blog, music,film?” That’s itfamiliarity that old deceiver!You see when I meet new people I am at my gregarious best, and when I meet up with old friends we chat for hours, but those nearest and dearest to me only get a few words now and again. It’s as if I expect them to know what I’m thinking so I fail to communicate with them; I fail to show them the courtesyof conversational respect. That’s how it is with prayer, God and me have become just over familiar and I’ve stopped telling him things because he knows me so well I haven’t felt the need to spell things out.
So reader, please pray that I may stop becoming a complete prayer fatalist and that I start to pick up the conversation again with God where we left it some time back. It was Abraham Lincoln who said; “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”