Last week, I shared about a time Jesus’ followers noticed he had wandered off from them. They watched at a distance as he prayed. After he got up from his knees, one disciple had the courage to say what the rest were thinking, “Would you teach us to pray like that?” What did they see that made them want to emulate his kind of prayer? Did they overhear Him use complex theological terms and they wanted to learn to use them too? Did he have some dramatic emotions or gestures they wanted to learn? Was it some paranormal activity they wanted in on?
I don’t think so. I think they watched Jesus pray and they could tell even from a distance there was a spiritual connection between Father and Son that was so rich and so real they said, “We don’t relate to God that way. Help us do that!” So the disciples asked him to teach them to pray that way and he did. The disciples started to pray in a new way. They felt a new kind of fellow-ship with the Father and God’s supernatural activity poured into their lives.
One thing I’ve noticed as a pastor is most folks don’t pray all that much even in churches like ours. A Church leader once told me he didn’t feel comfortable praying. In fact, he rarely prayed at all. The thought of talking to his Creator was so intimidating he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He was a Christian, but he had given up on prayer. How does a pastor respond to someone who makes a confession like that? Well, sensitively, I said, “and you call yourself a Christian? We are going to have to revoke your membership card for that.” (Not really!) What I did do was to think back over my years as a Christian. I could see certain seasons of my life when my prayer life suffered. I would pray in worship and over meals, but not much more than that. Then something would happen to spark my prayer life. I would pray joyfully, eagerly, expectantly. I prayed God would work and supernatural things would happen. And then I would begin to fade again.
Most of us can relate to that. We can think back to a time when we were interested in the things of God. We bought a Bible. We studied it a bit. Maybe we found a church and attended a bit. Maybe we even started to pray. We didn’t know all that was involved, but we gave it our best shot. And then we faded.
This week, we will be looking at the reasons so many of us experience the big fade in our spiritual lives. I hope you will join us as we learn more about prayer, and how prayer can help us recover lost ground and revitalize our spiritual lives.
~ Pastor Terry