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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Prayer--Potent, but Taken for Granted

I have been a Christian all my life. I have grown up (and am growing up) in a Christian household. I have Christian family, Christian relatives and Christian friends. I own two Bibles. I keep one on my bedstand and one in the living room. I read it every morning and every night. I pray every morning, every night, and before every meal. I participate in Bible time with my family. I have Bible verses and meaningful poems all over my walls. I have memorized Philippians and James, and countless other verses.

Sound like the perfect Christian?

In deeds, maybe. In spirit?

I used to think so. But lately...I'm not so sure.

Sunday morning was when I first realized that maybe I'm only following the letter of the law--but am avoiding the spirit of it all. My "Sunday-school teacher" (Hate that term, makes Sunday morning sound like school--which, in a way, it is...but in every way, it's not. Does that make sense?) explained how, in the Old Testament, there was a check-list, of sorts. The OT gave a list of strict rules: Don't murder. Don't commit adultery. Love your neighbor. It implied that if you followed these rules, you would go to heaven. Jesus says something else though: Yeah, I don't want you to murder, but don't even get angry. Don't commit adultery, but don't even have lust. Love your neighbor, true, but even love your enemy.

He rose the standard.

While I was listening to my awesome teacher, I realized that I really am not following the spirit of the law. I obviously haven't murdered anyone, I most definitely haven't commited adultery (obviously not married, but still), and how easy is it to love your friends? Super easy.

I have gotten angry--countless times. Haven't felt lust yet--but I'm only twelve. No idea how hard it gets later. And I dislike my "enemies"--strongly.

What else have I done completely wrong? I wondered.

Then Monday morning it hit me.

I realized that I took prayer for granted. I had unconsciously defined prayer as a way to get what I want, when I want...I took advantage of the fact that the most powerful being ever imaginable listened to me. Prayer changed from something sacred and real, to an Aladdin's lamp--I limited God, picturing him as a genie, of sorts. I began cluttering up my prayers with unnecessary wants and selfish desires. I prayed for certain things to happen to me; I prayed for certain people to stop bugging me; I prayed, I prayed, and I prayed...but for the completely wrong things.

So...I decided to pray four times per day, at scheduled times. Like the Jews do--but just for a week. And I resolved to keep the prayers off of my personal worldly needs--like sleepovers, belongings, etc.

It's been working great so far. I pray at nine o'clock, twelve o'clock, three o'clock and six o'clock. Instead of praying about worldly needs/wants, I pray that God would give me the inner qualities spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13, in Philipians, in James, in the Beautitudes.

I'm not exactly sure why I love the scheduled prayer type of thing...maybe it's because I feel like, in the middle of whatever I'm doing, God is willing to listen to me.

He is willing to listen to my prayers. He is willing to answer them.

He is ready to forgive my past carelessness.

Don't we have an amazing God?

9 replies:

Jessica Faith said...

very nice bekah :)
hugs from your friend!!!!!!! :) is hannah better yet?

Amber said...

Wow, Bekah, for a 12 year old (forgive me if that sounded rude) you really have a heart for the Lord, because I can see it. I go through these things and I sometimes take prayer and other things for granted. I'm thankful I was directed by God to come to your blog, because as I read, I get very encouraged. I will be praying for you!
God Bless,
Amber

Hannah said...

Lovely. :)

Love,
Hannah

Melian said...

Amen. And I don't mean that lightly. After reading over this twice carefully, I know now that I am as guilty of this as you are... I am often worried about things that have no purpose after they happen. My mom always say, "God isn't a gumball machine. You don't put in a quarter and get the candy."

Thank you for this encouraging, wonderful post!

Love & Hugs, Melian

Nicole said...

LOVE IT!

Catarina Ferreira said...

That is one of the most heartfelt posts I've read so far. those encounters with our real beings are the chance we get to move forward. and for me, you just had such a breakthrough when you reajusted your prayer focus. once I read a book by Eugene Peterson in which he said that prayer is all about God. HE is the focus. I still don't know what it means in practical terms, but I carry this in my heart and try to give Him what must be his. and, by the way this verse, I Peter 5:7 was on my mind earlier today while I prayed. loved the post. God bless.

KENZY said...

Great post, Bekah!
And i accepted you as a friend :) and here's my blog url http://kenzyistotallyawesome.blogspot.com/
and call me Kenzy. :D
thanks so much!
Kenzy

Melody said...

It's so easy to make prayer something about "me" isn't it? Thanks for the reminder!
I like your idea of scheduling prayer times so you pray at that time regardless of what you're doing. I'll have to try that. :)

Blessings,

~Melody

Amber said...

Hi there! My profile picture is actually from this art and photography website call deviantart.com
I just punched in the search box: 'Purity' and on the left side of the site it says 'categories' and then 'photography' and there you have it!

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