Prayer: A Lifelong Pursuit

Prayer is an issue for everyone. It is perhaps the most constant and persistent topic among all Christians. Prayer is something we all “do” – each in our own way – and yet we always are seeking more. Prayer takes us to God  … but hardly ever satisfies the need we have to become one with God. We are often left wondering if God has “heard” our prayers; if our prayers really make any difference; if we’re praying correctly; and, of course, if God is answering our prayers.

Prayer is the one spiritual practice that most of us do on a daily basis, and yet we still have plenty of questions about how and if it really works. 

In order to fully appreciate the miracle of prayer, we must first be willing to accept the mystery of God. If we keep waiting on God to respond to our prayers like other people respond to our requests, our needs, and our pleas, then we will probably miss most of what God gives us in response to our prayers. The truth is: there is never a right-way, or a wrong-way, to pray. But if you really want to connect with God and God’s living spirit, then some techniques and practices seem to work better than others. Yet even then, prayer is still a highly unique and personalized method of communication (communion) between you and God. 

This weekend I was browsing through a book on prayer that we studied in Seminary. The book, “Beginning Prayer” by John Killinger, claims to be a book on prayer for beginners. But I found it useful to re-read this weekend. Perhaps the truth is – we’re all beginners when it comes to prayer, and we’re all lifelong learners – wanting to learn as much as we can each and every day.

Here are some tips from Killinger, from the Conclusion of his book:

  • Do not take prayer “techniques” too seriously. They are only techniques. They are a means to an end. 
  • It is the presence of God that you are really after. To “put yourself in the presence of God” – that is what you are after. The rest is straw. 
  • Never stop looking for methods and techniques that help you pray better. Prayer is real. It is worth learning. Don’t let anything … take you off track. 
  • Our unconscious mind is a big part of praying. There is much more to us than our egos, our conscious minds, our rational beings. We are also dreams, emotions, fears, anxieties, hopes, love, and hate – all kinds of non-analytical things. 
  • If we belong to Christ, we must belong to Him entirely, below the level of consciousness as well as above it. Christ, who drove out demons, knew this well. 
  • Therefore, prayer must spill into all of our life, and all of our life must get into our prayers. There must be no holding back. Everything belongs: our nervousness; our aggression; our sexuality; EVERYTHING. God can handle it! We need not fear being honest with God. 
  • The reality is — it is ourselves we are afraid of. We don’t trust ourselves – we endeavor to deceive ourselves. If we can just get through that barrier – the barrier of the self – life can be what it is meant to be.
  • God is waiting! And it is prayer that will get us through. Don’t give up! God is waiting!
  • Once you experience a breakthrough and begin to sense the joy and excitement of living in the presence of God, then you can’t get enough of it! Prayer becomes a way of life. It moves into every area of your life. And one day, you find yourself, as the Apostle Paul put it, “praying unceasingly.” 
  • It’s the greatest feeling in the world! 

Source: “Beginning Prayer” by John Killinger

Praying for God’s will to be done … I am

Pastor <>< Bob