“Ask, seek, knock.” These are all active verbs denoting continuous action
We often treat prayer as a brief moment when we say something to God. But prayer is not a moment, it’s a pursuit, Paul said “pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
David said, “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice” Psalm 55:17
Prayer is not a moment, meeting, or a memo. It is not a merely a point in the service, a good way to begin and end. The church today as reduced to a have to and supposed to, not a get to…not a journey, a ministry, a pursuit. Prayer is something that we so often throw in because…if we don’t then the puzzle won’t be complete. We make dream, plan, organize and then finally we pray asking God to be in what’ve we’ve come up with and to bless it. Like prayer is the final piece of the puzzle. Prayer is not a piece of the puzzle, but it is the box that guides us to putting the pieces together. Without it nothing that we attempt or do can happen!
I’m not sure that God is desiring just a moment of Prayer from us…but rather I think that what God desires is a movement of Prayer!
Billy Graham said “To get the nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.”
The pursuit is of prayer is what our nation needs and personally it is what we need! Prayer is a pursuit, and adventure. As in any journey and pursuit there are a few things you discover and learn along the way.
Through the pursuit of prayer we learn:
We learn about ourselves
As sinful people are seeking the face of a holy God, we realize who we are. Through prayer God takes us from where we are to where he wants us to be. Maybe this is why prayer is such a struggle for us, we want the need met, but we don’t want to be any different.
It’s like going to the doctor if you are hurting, sick, etc. You have questions, you need answers, you have problems you need solutions. Your job is to take yourself to the doctor. The doctor’s job is to find out what the problem is. So he examines you up and over, in and out. He takes your temperature, blood pressure, he asks you all sorts of questions about our lifestyle and habits, he even weighs you (I hate it when they do this…I mean really? What does my weight have to do with a sore throat??!!) In the pursuit the doctor discovers and sees parts of you no one else has. He’s going to find the problem and when he finds it he’s going to tell you what must be done about it. Sometimes the solution is something he will do (medicine, surgery, etc). Sometimes it’s something you must do (health, diet, exercise).
Prayer is somewhat like this. We take our questions, problems, dreams, and dilemmas to the Great Physician and do you know what he does? He examines us, up and over, in and out. He takes the temperature of our attitude, the pressure of our activities, he asks us all sorts of questions about our lifestyle and habits, he even weighs our heart. Our Heavenly Doctor knows and sees part of you no one else has…not even yourself. He is going to find the problem and when he finds it he’s going to tell you what must be done about it. Sometimes the solution is something he will do (healing, intervention, blessing, etc). Sometimes it’s something you must do (confession, repentance, changes).
We learn about our God
Psalm 63 is a great example of this. As David sought God he learned a great deal about the one whom he pursued.
We learn about our need
Have you ever prayed for some you need God do and then found yourself as you pursued God for an answer that your request for the need changes?
As we embark on the pursuit of prayer our prayers often change
In Matthew 15:21-28 we see a great example of a woman who pursued Jesus asking for him to heal her daughter. By the end of the pursuit we see that her prayer changed to “Lord, help me.”
PRAYER DOESN’T CHANGE GOD, IT CHANGES US.
C.S. Lewis said this, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”
Prayer is probably why we aren’t effective day. When I look at the influence of the church in America today and especially in my community something is missing. When I think of the power that is my life and the lives of many people I worship with weekly, something is missing. We are weak, diminishing, and worn out. Why? Because we are in great need. We need his power, his presence, we need God to do what we cannot do. We need prayer! "Well, then let's throw a prayer meeting together" we often say. Unfortunately, in my experience most prayer meetings that I've thrown together have not been well attended. Throw a fall festival, have a concert, give something away and people show up in droves, but when a prayer meeting is organized there are plenty of available seats. I think we are missing something. We’ve reduced our prayer to a moment and meeting rather than a movement. A necessary box to check rather than a lifestyle. We are making a point before God, but we’ve not made a pursuit of God. Now, don't get me wrong prayer meetings can be great, but only if they as they are part of our journey and pursuit of God in prayer.
Prayer is something we pursue and we don’t stop until He answers. Treat your prayer life like a marathon, not a 40 yard dash. Take a voyage with God through prayer, not just a quick trip around the corner. Ask, seek, and knock...He will open the door, you will find Him, He will answer.