I like lists. Grocery lists, packing lists, to-do lists. I like it when things are laid out, nice and neat, and I can go through the list, putting checkmarks beside the things I’ve done. When there’s something I need to do, I like to see a step-by-step, fool-proof method to get what I want, like a recipe. In many instances, I get exactly that: step-by-step instructions for mowing the lawn, creating a spreadsheet, or assembling equipment. However, in religion there are seldom step-by-step instructions for anything.
I’ve often wished for step-by-step instructions telling me exactly how to pray and get answers. I’ve wanted a list to go through, with the promise that when I got to the end of the list, I would have my answer. No such luck.
Prayer Isn’t Like Aspirin
When I have a headache, I take a break. I rest, lie down, relax. If that doesn’t work, I might try a dark room or a cold cloth. And if that doesn’t work, as a last resort, I’ll take some medicine. This tried and true method of headache relief works for almost everyone; if not, they have different method. But prayer isn’t like aspirin. It’s not a last resort. It’s not something we do only when we’re in pain. It’s also not an instant cure-all.
Prayer is the exact opposite of aspirin. Instead of a last resort, prayer should be something we turn to every single day. Instead of waiting until a problem is beyond our control, or we’re in serious trouble to pray, we should pray always, even when we’re feeling great. Instead of an instant solution to our problems, sometimes we have to continue to pray for the same things for a long time before we receive answers or help. Read the rest of this entry »