Prayer is serious business in a world filled with facades and empty things. A common practice at fast-food places is for the person at the window to ask you to pull up when your food is delayed. I thought this was a courtesy to people behind you but when no one was back there I said, "I'll just wait here and if anyone comes up behind me I will be glad to move forward." I was told that I still needed to move up because if I stayed at the window the video trackers would think I didn't have my food. News flash ... I didn't have my food. The common practice by these restaurant employees is to game the system. That is so like our world where we value perception more than truth.
We treat prayer that way sometimes. We send petitions to God because we are supposed to pray. We give God our wish list and go through our day pretty much ignoring Him. We want to say we care about God and sing "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" while our actions trust in so many other things. How do we fall into Jesus and begin to take prayer as "serious business?"
Paul tells us, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 that there two attitudes we can adopt when we are led through life by God. The NLT expresses these verses in two three-word phrases. "Always be joyful. Never stop praying." Pretty simple, as Paul gives the Church at Thessalonica final instructions about their walk forward through hard times.
Both joy and prayer are fruits of an attitude of trust in God. Our joy in each day we have been gives says "thank You God!" Our prayers say, "Lord ... I am trusting you today, so here are the things flowing from the depths of my heart." I am not talking about the fluff or facades we try to show God. I AM talking about those guttural and visceral cries from the depth of our being. "Lord, I am dying down here!" "Lord, I cry to You for help." "Lord, my joy in You flows out of my being so much that I can't keep it secret from those around me."
Prayer is not treating God like a corporation you are trying to dupe into believing you are doing your job. It is all about conversation, communication and trusting communion between a perfect God who loves and leads a flock of anxious, angry, hurting and fickle subjects who can lay anything at His feet, knowing that God cannot be duped but always can be trusted. Prayer is serious business! Randy