Friday, May 18, 2007
Prayer Is a Dangerous Occupation
Two Kinds of Pray-ers
It seems to me there are two kinds of people who pray, those who pray because they know they should, and those who pray because they feel they can't live without it. The only way to move from duty to desire is to keep praying. There seems to be a tipping point somewhere where we cross over from one to the other and find a place of intimacy with God. Then we can't get enough of prayer.
From Duty To Desire
Part of the process of moving from duty to desire is learning to worship. I'm not talking here about singing together on a Sunday, though that is probably where most Christians get their first taste of worship. Rather I'm talking about the individual's personal response to their God. If prayer remains a process of presenting our requests to Him and nothing more it will become dry and lifeless. But if we endeavour to develop our love relationship with Him, He will increasingly reveal Himself to us. We will have a genuine encounter with God.
A Dangerous Place to Be
Perhaps one of the reasons some Christians fail to make the transition from duty to desire is because they instinctively sense that being in intimate relationship with the Lord is a dangerous place to be. It is impossible to enter the presence of a holy God and not recognise one's own failings and weaknesses. The human heart is deceitful above all things (Jer 17:9) and we are not conscious of all our sin. The Lord, in His mercy, does not show it to us all at once, but if we are consistently in His presence He will begin to deal with us little by little, bringing us to repentance and helping us to change. This is why I say prayer is dangerous. It is not a pleasant experience to be shown the truth of what lies in our hearts. Repentance and change is a painful process.
The Ultimate Reward
But of course, whilst the process is difficult, the benefits of submitting to this activity of the Holy Spirit are immense. The peace and joy which come from knowing that we are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next (2 Cor 3:18) surpasses anything the rest of the world knows. And the ultimate reward is a more intimate walk with the Lord.
Prayer College Assignment
Ask the Lord to teach you to worship and to move you further from a sense of duty in prayer to a true desire to pray.