Saturday, February 23, 2008

Personality and Prayer

And God said, "let the water's teem with living creatures."
Gen 1:20

We only have to look at the natural world to see that God loves diversity.

I used to keep tropical fish until the thermostat in the tank failed and cooked them all! But it was wonderful to me to see the variety of shapes, colours and behaviour of different fish even when they originated from the same environment. Some were timid creatures, usually hiding at the back of the tank amongst the wood and vegetation. Others were less fearful and would rush to the glass to see if someone was coming to feed them every time the room lights went on. But I enjoyed them all.

Christians have different personalities too. God doesn't want us all to be the same because that would be boring, not just for us, but for Him as well. This has been brought home to me in a powerful way over the last few days as I gathered with hundreds of other believers at the World Prayer Centre conference in Swanwick, UK, to listen to God's heart and to pray for our world.

I am, by nature, an introvert - not one for shouting and jumping up and down. I like to talk to God in a quiet voice and find it easier to fellowship with Him without cluttering my mind with words. But there were a lot of extroverts at this conference who wanted to pray loudly, enthusiastically and with many words. I've heard a definition of an extrovert as someone who can't process a thought without it first passing through their mouth. That is not intended as a derogatory statement. I recognise that it's just a part of how they have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

Feeling Safe
We have a tendency to stick with people who are like ourselves. Introverts feel more comfortable praying with other introverts and extroverts enjoy praying with other more expressive pray-ers. But it is vitally important that we don't get so stuck in our own little clique that we start to think of others who pray differently as being odd or quirky. It's all too easy to judge. We are all deeply and passionately loved by the Lord Jesus whatever our style of prayer.

From the Heart
On Thursday night we were privileged to pray for and bless a group of young men whose lives had been transformed by the Holy Spirit. These were former drug addicts who'd had a healing encounter with God and were now walking with Him. It was thrilling to see them jumping up and down, arms raised in praise, worshipping the Lord. It didn't matter to me that I could not relate at all to the style of music. I was rejoicing in my spirit that here were people, that Jesus had snatched from the jaws of death and destruction, who were now giving glory to the Father and showing the devil that he is defeated.

Prayer College Assignment
Do you sometimes find yourself being critical of the way other people pray or worship God? Ask the Lord to show you His heart for these people.

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