How prayer works |

How prayer works

Gary Wingo

Do you pray? I believe most people do. When I was a kid, I was taught to pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take! God bless.” Imagine teaching a child, “If I should die before I wake.” I would ask God to bless everyone I could think of just to stay awake and not die! I even thought I could ask God whatever I wanted, and he would jump through my hoops – just like some religious people who actually think that if they have enough faith, God will make them “healthy, wealthy, and wise.” True God-centered prayer simply does not work like this, nor is it a matter of saying the right words and having unrealistic expectations of our Lord.Now, what is prayer? Let’s discover together the biblical truth about communication with God and how it can make a difference in our daily lives. The best way to begin (and end) is with the words of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He taught us “The Lordís Prayer,” revolutionizing the very notion of talking with God! In the New Testament, Matthew 7:9-13 says, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”- “Our Father in Heaven”: When Jesus calls God “Father,” he is actually saying, “Daddy”! It’s true! The word in Hebrew, “Abba,” means “Daddy.” Abba is an endearing term telling us that God has this great desire for us to call Him “Daddy.” Abba/Dad shows the depth of God’s heart for us. I know many of us didn’t have the best “dad” examples, but let the image flow in your mind. A strong powerful Father smiling at you, taking great joy in you, loving you outrageously, desiring to teach and lead you to all the best life in Christ can offer! That’s a father – that’s God – that’s our great DAD!- “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done”: Preachers and professors have messed this one up for years. Jesus believed that prayer and God’s will were tightly intertwined. Look at your life and see what the Lord is up to, what you’re going through, and that’s God’s will. Prayer then becomes a joining of your heart and mind to the Father’s plan for you. I know it’s hard to swallow. But think with me:1. God caused your current events in order to lead you down the best path for your life.2. God allowed whatever you may be going through to shape and equip you for what’s to come.3. God orchestrated your circumstances to shape you to become who you were created to be. Imagine a conductor directing an orchestra. Does the maestro create the music? He could if he wanted to, but no – each individual plays the music according to how they choose to use their gifts and talents. The conductor pulls it all together into a melodious concert of gifts. People working together to make great music is a beautiful thing! Think about Mozart, Beethoven, “Amazing Grace,” even B.B. King! This is why the Bible says, “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord, who are called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28.When all our choices reside in the hands of the one true conductor, he uses our situations to shape our hearts, our character, our future – all to make wonderful “music” and draw us closer to him. There are no accidents. Everything, all the good and bad, happy or sad, is fair game to God so that we might turn to him and seek Jesus Christ with all our hearts.And it’s all for our benefit! This is why Jesus himself said, “Father, Your will be done,” instead of “Now I lay me down to sleep.”Together let’s trust God and shift our prayer to be, “Lord, I accept these events going on in my life, please orchestrate my life your way – your will be done. In the name of Jesus Christ.” Then watch how everything changes – and be ready to fly on the adventure of prayer with your true dad, who’s waiting to hear from you!Gary Wingo is pastor of Seekers Fellowship – a gathering of people meeting at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards at 6:30 p.m. Sundays.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism