Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Tweeting Prayers

Last night I started writing my post for today, but I was going to discuss prayer and fasting (I will, at a later time). After researching these two topics, I began to think about my own prayer life and wonder if it could be better (yes, it can). Don't get me wrong, I pray. I pray a lot throughout the day, but they are short prayers ("texting God" as my friend Melyssa calls it. Mine are more like tweets on Twitter - 140 characters or less). How can I develop a strong relationship with the Lord if I'm only tweeting Him?

As I reveiwed the Scriptures last night regarding prayer, I noticed how seriously the Biblical heroes took prayer. Moses, Daniel, Jesus, and many more, would go to a quiet place or rise before the sun to pray. Some prayed for 40 days and nights, some fasted during their prayers, some wore sackcloth and ashes as a sign of true mourning and repentance. Pleading for mercy, praying for their nations, for protection, for a child - these prayers were offered from the heart. They prayed without ceasing (1 Thessolonians 5:17).

How can I improve my prayer life? I can't necessarily go away for 40 days and nights, but I might be able to find 40 minutes (keep in mind there are no time limits on prayer, I'm using this as an example). I can go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and use the quiet time of the early morning for prayer.

I can also watch what I pray. James 4:2b - 3 says "You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (ESV)
What are the motives for my prayers? Am I praying for God's will to be done or am I praying for material possessions that will bring no glory to God?

How am I praying? Am I like the hypocrite and the pharisee - praying where others see me (Matthew 6:5) and bragging to God how great and pious I am (Luke 18:11)? Or like the tax collector who hung his head, beat his chest and begged for mercy (Luke 18:1) realizing my great sin and His great grace?

The benefits of prayer are endless. I will draw closer to the Lord as I relay my most intimate thoughts to Him. My relationship with Him will grow stronger meaning my faith will grow as well. It's also a chance to check my thoughts and motivations and pray for forgiveness. I can't do this though in short prayers, just like I can't build a relationship with someone with short phrases.

How's your prayer life? What are your thoughts on prayer? I would love to read your comments.


smithsk said...

You've given us much to think about, Joanna. Pray is my weak point. Sometimes, I feel the closer I get to God, the more it will hurt, for I will really see myself and it's not pretty. But I know He knows that already.

Some of the most effective prayers are short tweets. Think of St. Peter when he was sinking as he was walking on water - " Lord, save me." Matthew 14:30

Joanna said...

Thank you for your comment. Good point about St. Peter's prayer.

I've noticed with myself though that all my prayers seem to be short tweets lately and I'm starting to feel the loss of closeness with the Lord.

Terri said...

Your thoughts are inspiring. My Pastor covered the Lord's Prayer and I'm "itching" to flush it out, most likely on my blog. Thank you, prayer is our lifeline and it won't hurt any of us to improve the oxygen-rich air between us and God.

Robbie Iobst said...

Great post Jo! In the past year, I've added written prayers to my time, like the Lord's Prayer, a prayer written by John Stott?, a couple of prayers from 12 steps. I also try to pray through the armor of God each morning. I do all this as my warm up time to a quiet time. HOWEVER, lately I've been thinking the Lord wants me to do something totally different. Your post has confirmed that. I love the tweeting analogy by the way. I guess my point is keeping prayer fresh and new adds warmth and depth to prayer time. And of course listening. I'm learning how to do that. Not really good tho.
:0) Thanks Jo!

Need More Words said...

I read this on another blog and it fits with what you are teaching. I hope it helps others.
John Calvin, the French Protestant theologian summarized prayer this way, “Believers do not pray with the view to inform God about things unknown to Him or of exciting Him to do his duty, or of urging Him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek Him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from anxieties by pouring them into His bosom; in a word that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others all good things”.

DenaNetherton said...

Like my earthly relationships, some conversations are short and informative. Others are sweet, long, and intense. Those are the ones where He does most of the talking.