Starting spiritual conversations with prayer

Be still and know that God is God and I am not.

Be quiet and listen to his promises.

Stillness and quiet are adequate descriptions of contemplative prayer. It’s more about what we receive from God rather than what we give him. It’s more about his voice that resonates in our hearts rather than giving him our voice.

There are reasons why God implores us to pray without ceasing.

If prayer is that important, then starting spiritual conversations ought to begin with it.

Through prayer, we can ask God to prepare our hearts, surrender our fears, and request the courage to proclaim.

Evangelism takes an Acts 1:8 miracle. It requires a work of the Holy Spirit for us and through us before a Christian believer can begin the work of being his messengers.

Prayer is a good place to start.

Prayer emboldens, trusts, and surrenders.

Prayer reflects a desire to place God’s will above our own, his purpose above our plans.

Before trying to figure out what to say, believers can begin the conversation by placing that soul into God’s hands. Before approaching an unbelieving friend or neighbor with the intent to provide a gospel message, Christian believers can purposefully include God in the process through prayer.

Remember, God loves lost souls. He is the frantic shepherd that leaves ninety-nine sheep to find a lost one.  He desires to be included. He is the only way to rescue lost souls through the power of his Word.

How is your prayer life?

Are you a prayer warrior or someone who knows they ought to pray more often?

A lack of prayer life often reflects a lack of trust.

When we don’t see results that matches our desires or struggle to see the logic behind prayer, we tend to tuck away the act of prayer in the coat closet of our busy life.

Like an umbrella, we know it’s there when we need it.

Jesus encourages his disciples to pray and gave a model on how to pray. When you carefully examine the words of the Lord’s prayer, we see that it is a declaration of trust in God’s promises. It serves to recalibrate our soul and lean on God’s wisdom rather than our own.

Christians also refer to the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) as a lesson for prayer. The Lord wanted to teach his disciples that “they should always pray and not give up.” (v. 1) The widow in the parable went before an uncaring judge to seek justice. Finally, the judge rewarded her persistence and served her needs. Jesus uses this parable to teach his disciples that unceasing prayer is a hallmark of a life in Christ.

Sometimes Christians use this parable to justify the belief that if we pray hard and long enough, that the Lord will finally relent and give us what we desire. We tend to think that if we beg or regularly shake God’s collar to get what we desire – no matter how right it feels — then our persistence will receive its reward.

That thought doesn’t seem to mesh with the Lord’s prayer.

The emphasis of prayer is far more about God’s grace and his will than our persistence.

Notice in the parable that the Lord is far more concerned about finding faith on earth (v.8) than bringing justice. In the context of the Lord’s prayer, we can trust God’s promises that justice will be served. It just may not be according to our timetable. But thanks be to God! We receive perfect justice for our sins right now through the completed work of Christ.

Perhaps the Lord also wants to teach that persistent prayer helps win lost souls – especially for people who are like the judge that “don’t fear God or care what people think.”

Persistent prayer is not about what we desire, but what God desires – his will rather than our own will. When God’s will becomes paramount in our life in Christ, than the eternal life of those who don’t know him is reflected the most in our persistent prayers.

This is a good reminder for prayer slackers like me. Am I more concerned about the spiritual welfare of people in my life or am I too lazy and selfish to care?

And it’s a good reminder for the prayer warrior. Are our prayers more focused on convincing God of our desires and will rather than reflecting on what God desires in our life?

Prayer is a complete mystery to me.  I don’t understand how it works.  Yet, God institutes prayer for good. Even Jesus prayed. He spent hours on mountain tops. His schedule was full, too. Hours before being arrested and crucified, before fulfilling what was set apart for him to do on behalf of the world, Jesus is praying intensely in the garden.

Jesus Christ, God incarnate, is a model of persistent prayer even though we may not understand it.

Prayer. There is something to it.

Through prayer,

God provides the words to proclaim.

God opens our eyes and sees that the harvest is ready.

God redirects our eyes off self and onto his purpose.

God prepares us to be available and ready to be used in a powerful way.

God provides us with opportunities to be who we were created to be – his witnesses.

And that requires an Acts 1:8 miracle.

Starting spiritual conversations begins with prayer.

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