When I went to bed last night, I was lying there, and thinking, or not-so-much thinking, more just letting my mind wander, until it had wandered to a place which made me more alert, because it involved something I really wanted to work out. Instantly, ya know, I thought, well this is something I need to pray about, that if God wants it to work out, then He will work it out, because right now it's a little too complicated for my little brain. So I start to pray, ya know; I always start by thanking Him for the day and for whatever blessings I can remember, then move on to prayer requests, for friends and family, for church and missions etc, and personal ones. Maybe it was because I was really tired, but my mind just kept wandering. I kept trying to bring it back to praying but it was really a struggle.
But somehow through my tired-mind-wandering-state, I did come up with these coherent thoughts. I think that as Christians, as followers of Jesus, we should love to pray. We should love to pray like you love to have a good conversation with a great friend. It shouldn't just be 'duty' or 'obligation' or us wanting something that makes us pray (although I do think that sometimes those are helpful things for when we aren't feeling like we'd love to pray, but need to pray anyways), we should really love to talk to our LORD.
A few weeks ago, I really did feel like I was maybe sort of starting to love to pray. Most afternoons, right after lunch I will take the little girls out for a walk for them to have a nap. For a long time, I would always listen to music while I was walking, ya know, join the earphone people all walking down the street. Then one day I consciously made the decision to leave my iPod at home, and go walking without music. At first it was hard, so I decided that it might be a good time to get some prayer time in (note at this point I did not 'love to pray' but decided to use it to help me). So off I went, praying the little girls in the stroller, for my 'list' of prayer requests, for the people I passed on the street, and whatever came to mind. As time went on, I really began to enjoy my 'prayer-walks', and I think I began to 'love to pray'.
Then it started to not go so-well. I'm not sure what it was, but for some reason one day when I was walking, I didn't pray, I just let my mind wander. I was thinking about a bunch of things, I don't really remember what; and I didn't pray. Okay, whatever, you say, that was just one walk. And it was, but it turned into two, then three, then four. Then I would think about it, and it would occur to me that the girls always went to sleep faster when I was praying, so I would start to pray that God would give them peace, that He would help them to relax and settle and fall asleep. I would pray that they would come to know God's love for them as they grew each day. I would pray a bunch of things for them, but really my motives were to help them fall asleep.
I don't think that it is wrong for us to pray when we have something to as God for, but I believe that shouldn't be the ultimate reason we talk to Him for. Wouldn't you think it was a bit weird if every time your friend called you, it was just so she could ask you a favour? It says in Philippians 4:6 to ask God for all your requests (through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, so that you will not be anxious). Many times throughout the Bible we are told to come with faith and ask God for what we need. But I don't think we should only pray when we have a prayer request, or something we want God to do for us. I believe those are very valid things to pray for, but that our 'end goal' should be that we love to pray. That we would love to talk to God.
And like I said, this is something that I most definitely need to work on myself.
Prayin for y'all today folks! ;)
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. (Hebrews 13:20-21)