Let Us Pray
I read about a family with young children traveling on vacation through Italy. When they entered a large cathedral, they noticed the church was in the middle of a service. The three year old was quite inquisitive and saw a woman at the front of the church kneeling in prayer.
“What’s she doing?” the three year old asked.
The mother, wanting to keep it simple, said, “She’s praying; she’s asking God for a few things.”
It was about lunch time in Italy, and the family was hurrying through the tour. As they turned to leave, they looked back; and the three year old was kneeling in prayer. The mother asked, “What are you doing?”
The child replied, “Oh I was just asking God for a few things.”
“What were you asking for?” the mom said.
The three year old said, “I’m really hungry so I’m asking for a gelato.”
We imitate what we see and what we understand. Prayer often begins by asking God for a few things, but a prayer life that stays on the asking side rarely grows into an abundant relationship with God. If you read through the pages of scripture, prayer involves wrestling, thanking, struggling, waiting, groaning, and praising. It’s a living, ongoing exercise of the life of faith. Just as your body needs oxygen to breathe while walking fast through the mall, or running a race, we inhale and exhale a life of prayer.
Each Sunday, while we worship, deacons of the week gather in the prayer room to pray. Throughout the week, people send prayer grams and attend our prayer time in Fellowship Hall. Homebound and assisted living members hold our church family in prayer. The prayer list keeps us informed of the updates within our church family. Sunday Morning Bible Study groups remind each other of specific needs in their circles. These are the public and private reminders of the significance of this important ministry as we Love Tallahassee.
Without even recognizing it, many of you breathe the oxygen of prayer for our church. Thank you to each person who prays for me and our staff. Thank you for praying for our church and our city. I am grateful for those who are praying for people who have not yet decided to follow Jesus. We need it. A church that lives for Christ and loves Tallahassee can only do so because of this kind of exercise. We pray not so we can get anything out of God. He’s given us everything we could possible ever want or need. We pray so that we can live.
Surely things do happen to us and for us because of prayer. We develop a calming center, and God always answers prayer—even if it’s not always what we want. We clear our minds and open our hearts to this life of gratitude. But the reason we pray is so much more than totaling the answers. Like the many other functions of the body that go unnoticed throughout our day, just try a life without prayer for a while. We suffocate on our own desires, choked by our wants and wishes. But a life with Christ is possible the same way our bodies work. We inhale, and we exhale. So let us pray.