This morning I was reading, again, about my favorite person in Christian history, George Muller…surprise, I know. As I was reading I was contrasting how Muller prayed with some of the things I’ve heard from people about prayer.
Now, before you get fired up, I’m doing this evaluating of practice with Jesus’ teaching clearing in the background shining light on Muller and on other things I’ve heard from supposed teachers of the word. What I note is that Muller’s practices are firmly rooted in seeking to apply what Jesus said. Much of what I’ve heard from others is firmly rooted in trying to be novel or a misunderstanding of what is presenting in the bible altogether.
I’m not going to give you Muller’s full Monty on prayer…go read his autobiography. However, I would like to share with you my thoughts after reading some more Muller, evaluating some of the presentations I’ve heard from others and the shining light of Jesus on both.
- Pray simply. My audience is God not man, therefore, there is no need to impress anyone with my words. Also, try to extend simplicity to every aspect of the discipline of prayer. If I’m in my “closet” so to speak, I don’t have to rev up my tone to impress anyone or soften my tone because of some self-imposed reverence not required. Just come to the Father simply. Normal. By no means don’t be irreverent or cavalier, but just come simply.
- Pray biblically. The bible says enough about prayer to keep us busy. We don’t need to add any unnecessary steps to prayer to somehow increase its effect. In fact, Jesus said that he knows what we need before we ask, so we don’t have to be unnecessarily repetitive like unbelievers when they pray (yes unbelievers pray…people of other faiths pray and need to be repetitive to make sure their “god” hears them or sees they are sincere enough grant their request). Simply follow Jesus’ instructions, pray the prayers of the bible as they apply to you and your family, church, work and world.
- Pray like you believe. However that looks. Pray in faith believing that when we ask for kingdom things that our Good Father and Shepherd is glad to give. That looks like expectancy, anxiety free and joyous asking for all we need to do the work of the kingdom. Boldness. Confidence. Child-like joy.
- Return often. The bible says to pray without ceasing. That’s kind of hard to do if I have to obey a stiff methodology, so maybe I can whisper prayers to the Father all day as the Spirit prompts me. Maybe I seek out times to be completely alone and given to prayer so that my posture can reflect my heart at the moment. Maybe I discipline myself to put myself in a place where I really need the Lord’s supply and not my ability to deliver myself.
There is so much more that could be said, but that’s enough for now. Try these and see if they help.