Sunday, November 1, 2009
Where Do You Pray?
Halloween for 2009 is over. I hope I didn't bore too many readers with too much Halloween information and I hope that I provided some entertainment as well as interesting, and even useful, information. Please let me know your thoughts.
Today I am going to start my NaNoWriMo experience. Tomorrow I will hopefully have something to say about this and have a running start into my writing challenge. But for today I will continue my Sunday postings having to do with spiritual issues.
Over the past few weeks of posting on Sundays I have been taking a journalistic approach to the topic of prayer. The journalist uses the infomation gathering technique known as the "five w's" when researching a story-- these include who, what, when, where, why, and how. In studying prayer we have so far looked at what we should pray for, who we should pray for, and when we should pray. Today I will talk about where we pray.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Prayer is not intended to be a public spectacle of one's piety. I guess you might compare praying so that everyone else can see and hear you praying as kind of like the person in the restaurant talking loudly on a cell phone so everyone else can hear what they are saying. When you pray in your private place it's all about you and God and nothing else. No one else needs to know about it. You don't need to impress anyone. This is your time to open your heart to God and become part of the heart of God. No show, no distractions, it's as simple as that.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Jesus set the example for us in many ways, including prayer. Many times Jesus went to a solitary place to pray. We should take heed of his example. If we can't be in the privacy of our home, we don't need to throw down a prayer rug and prostrate ourselves for all to see. A quiet corner or even an unobstrusive bowing of the head with eyes closed will suffice. No one else needs to know about your prayer. The prayer is for God alone.
He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
"There are no atheists in foxholes," goes a popular saying. This may not be exclusively true, but this is not the point of the saying. This aphorism is saying that sometimes in a place that might seem furthest from the heart of God this is when the prayer might be the most fervent. Whether it was Jonah calling to God from the belly of the giant fish, a miner trapped in a cave-in praying for rescue, or the soldier in the foxhole imploring for his safety, God hears the heartfelt prayer no matter where it originates.
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
1 Timothy 2:8
We can pray anywhere and everywhere. A public group prayer is welcomed by God if His people are unified and sincere. Purposeful, honest prayer can be a powerful statement that brings people together in God's universal love. Eternal praise to God by all is the supreme vision of what heaven is about.
My foot stands in an even place; in the congregations I will bless the LORD.
We should pray in church. Prayer is one of the main parts of the worship service. The church experience is the communal experience of believers and all of those who want to share the experience of the believers. The communal prayer teaches us about prayer through the example of those who are experienced in prayer. Praying with the congregation allows us to petition and praise God together as a body of believers, helping us in caring and fellowshipping with one another. In church we are on the same plane with others who believe as we do and unified in purpose.
Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
To pray without ceasing means that everywhere is appropriate for prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be said out loud. You can pray loudly or softly depending on the place and the circumstance. Essentially you should maintain a prayerful attitude. This does not mean you can’t have fun or experience typical human emotion. We are made in the image of God and as such should reflect goodness, hope, and glory so that we show the face of God. Our direct line to God should never be put on hold, but always remain open. God is always there when you are ready to call on Him.
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11