Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 30, 2016

relationship in prayer

Years ago, while sitting in an airport talking with a Bible scholar and successful author, I was amazed with what he told me. His words went something like, “I struggle with prayer.” If a man who has literally poured his life into knowing, teaching and communicating the truth of God’s Word would admit to a prayer struggle, what about the rest of us? Volumes have been written about the subject, but the truth remains that many Christ-followers feel woefully inept in their personal prayer life. My thoughts today, however, are about looking forward in our prayer journey, not backwards with regret.

In my personal reading earlier this week, I landed on prayer twice in the same chapter. On the surface, both readings seemed a bit outlandish. In Luke 6:12, Scripture gives this account…

One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.

The next verse records Jesus calling all His disciples together and choosing the twelve apostles. Obviously, Jesus had some important stuff to talk over with the Father during His all-nighter of prayer. But how much time did He need? He could have probably rifled some words at the Father and gone to sleep pretty quickly, but I believe Jesus’ time with God (I love to think about God praying to God) was true communion — a deep exchange with Both speaking and listening. Can you imagine the depth of that night?! My point is not that we should pray all night, but maybe there needs to be a stronger emphasis in the prayer relationship … of speaking and listening. Often, I struggle with the listening part of prayer. What about you?

Later in the same chapter (v.28), we find words which seem a bit outlandish in the context of human reasoning, but represent a posture and power in prayer which many do not experience.

Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.

There have been times we all have wanted to pray for those who hurt us … pray for the wrath of God, that is! But God has a better way. Praying with a sincere heart for those who hurt us is an act of yielding to God’s design and trusting His plan for us. God’s will in our pain and hurt goes beyond us — those who hurt us have needs also. I wish I could claim consistency in praying this way, but this is another area of prayer struggle for me. What about you?

So I have confessed a couple of prayer life problems which you may share too. We all have prayer struggles! Will you also accept (with me) that you desire a deeper relationship with the Father in prayer? Be assured, He is ready to spend more time with us. And when you and I are spending more time with the Father (speaking and listening), our hearts will soften and praying for those who hurt us becomes possible. All night praying is not the issue, growing in a prayer relationship is! There is a reason some people experience amazing answers to prayer, while others experience great frustration in their prayer life. How is your prayer life?

Early this morning, I took a book off the shelf in my basement. I opened the book, Prayer, by Philip Yancey, and was immediately blessed by words from a woman named Dee. Her experience of prayer with a man named Paul is the way I want to close this article.

“Prayer is an area where I desperately miss my elderly friend Paul. I used to steal glimpses of his face as he prayed.  The last time I prayed with him, I opened my eyes and he had his hands folded on the kitchen table with his head resting on them. Bowed before his Maker. I always felt that when Paul prayed, God silenced heaven, leaned forward on His throne and said, “Be still, my faithful servant Paul is praying.”

If someone viewed our prayer life, what would they say?

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