There are devotional books whose daily readings I review year after year. One of these is God Calling, edited by A.J. Russell. The writers of the book remain anonymous. Every year something in my life draws my attention to a new message in the familiar words. The passage for May 31 included an encouragement to pray. The writers stated, “prayer is the linking up of the soul and mind and heart to God.” It is such a beautiful picture that it gave me a new appreciation for the Apostle Paul’s admonishment to “pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).” Combining the two thoughts, the idea becomes, “Never fail to be linked to the soul, mind and heart of God.”
Too often we struggle with prayer. What to say? How long should it take? Is God even listening? Will He answer? Does prayer even make a difference? It can be more a matter of guilt and obligation than a source of help and strength.
But this new concept of linking up with God excites my spirit and gives me hope. When I surrender my will and emotions to God, think with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and slow dance with Him in a heartfelt embrace, there is no room for guilt or obligation! This is life lived in moment-to-moment contact with the one I love and the One Who Loves me.
When viewed from this new perspective, perhaps you see that you’ve been closer to Paul’s standard than you thought. The world and, too often the church, has deemed prayer only counts when one assumes the right posture—head bowed, eyes closed, tone somber. It follows a proper order. Some use the ACTS Model: Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. If you don’t stick with the outline, it doesn’t count and, some suggest, God won’t listen.
If the model for prayer, however, is “in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28),” it is something that becomes joyful and sustainable. Proverbs 3:6 (AMP) instructs us, “In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him.” This constant awareness, checking in, and listening to God is the attitude that Paul prescribes.
Prayer is directing your thoughts toward God. Paul again points us in this way in Philippians 4:6 (NLT), “Don’t worry about anything, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” Prayer can be as simple as redirecting your thoughts from fear to faith, fixing them on what is “true and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable (v. 8).”
God Calling went on to describe the reason for this type of prayer life, “Because the soul, being linked to God, united to Him, receives in and through Him all things.” The writer of Proverbs also shares the reward of diligence in connection with God: “He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].”
As the times grow crazier and gas and food prices climb higher and higher, I need not only the help, but the love and presence of God without ceasing! How about you?
It’s time to let prayer out of the closet!