Over the last 3 weeks at Spring Valley, we have been focusing on the spiritual discipline of personal Bible study and personal worship. Many times in church world we call this “quiet time” or “devotions”. It really doesn’t matter what we call it; it matters that each believer in Jesus Christ spends time each and every day reading and studying the Word of God and praying to Him.
I believe that prayer is the least used and most misused aspect of our spiritual life. Pastor Josh called what many of us do “vending machine prayers.” That means, we walk up to God, point out what we want Him to do for us, and then say the corresponding prayer. God is not a genie in a lamp just waiting to give us whatever we want. He is the Almighty Creator God of the universe who desires personal and intimate relationship with us! Let that sink in for a minute. The God who created light by commanding, “Let there be light” before He had created the light sources desires to have a real and personal relationship with you. That’s crazy. That’s awesome. That’s humbling.
So why do we come to God only with our hand out looking for what He can give to us? Why do we treat Him like Santa? Why do we act like spoiled children crying about what we want and when we want it and how we want it, and then throwing a fit and proclaiming that God doesn’t love us or answer our prayers when we don’t get our way?
We also act as though prayer is something we do just to get God to bless our work. We pray before a meal (can you be a Christian and not pray at a meal? After all, unblessed food rots in your stomach, right?). We pray at bedtime. We pray before we have a church meeting. We pray before a mission trip. We pray before we go and do, as though the going and doing is the important part, and the prayer is the perfunctory action to make everything go smoothly.
Here’s the kicker that we must understand: Prayer is the work! Vance Pitman said, “We don’t pray before the work; prayer is the work, and then God works.”
What would happen if we began to understand prayer as an important and intimate time with God? What would happen if we began to treat prayer as the work? What would happen if we prayed real prayers, and not just form prayers? What would happen if we committed ourselves to continual, specific, personal, and corporate prayer?
What would happen if we saw prayer how God sees prayer?
What would happen if we daily got on our faces before God and prayed for His divine direction and guidance in our life, in the life of our family, and in the life of our church? What would happen if we didn’t move before praying and hearing back from God?
How do we respond? First, decide to change how you think about prayer. God isn’t our “golden ticket”. Second, commit to daily, continual and specific prayer. Third, if you are a member or attendee of Spring Valley, join us in the 21-day prayer campaign.
The world around us hurting, dying, and going to hell. We must get serious about the work of prayer so that lives are changed for eternity.
Ready? Let’s go!