13. Prayer. Conversation with God is.....Well....Let's be honest, Weird. I am sure you have entertained this idea before. This is at the heart of our frustration with it. It used to bother me when people would speak of "Conversation" with God. My initial reaction was "There is nothing 'Con' - the idea of two - 'Verse-ation' about prayer. We talk and He listens. This ofcourse was before I delved into the spiritual disciplines. I have sense modified my views of prayer.
Some of you reading this have immediately labeled me because of this statement. Let me just say that I do believe God works and is active in the cosmos today. He is present in my life and is continuously interacting within my frame of existence. But prayer is most often initiated by us, ended by us, and, I am sad to say, controlled by us.
In spite of the apparent one sided nature of Prayer, it is still multi-dimensional. It evades reductionistic labels of auto-suggestion and "positive thinking." It resists rational explanations of "coincidences." Prayer is a mystery that breaks through to another realm of reality. When we pray, we are acknowledging that the cosmos is greater than our experience. Our call to God is by its very nature a result of a conviction that we are participants in a cosmic battle. This war is waged by powers that are beyond our abilities to resist or control. Without the aid of God, we would be purely sideline victims to the cosmic drama.
This is why prayerless-ness the the most subtle form of pride and arrogance we can express. Our flesh resists prayer. The independent spirit within all of us cries out to wage war in our own strength. To go as long as we can, drawing from inner and external resources. Prayerlessness is intimately connected to either unbeleif, arrogance or both. It declares that our efforts are the axiom of success. The ironic thing about prayerlessness is that it actually takes us out of the battle rather than propelling us deeper into it.
However, through prayer, we become pivotal participants in the course of history. When we pray, we enter into spiritual warfare. The cosmos is effected by our supplications and intercessions. One of my favorite stories on this topic in the Bible is Daniel 10. Daniels prayers moved the spiritual order and even initiated a an angelic collision between the "Prince of Persia" and the angel from God.
Do not underestimate your prayers. Do not be fooled by the one dimensional lens of flesh and blood. There is an arch enemy of God, and we are enlisted in the warfare against him.
Will we pray for laborers to enter the harvest? Can we ask for God to allow the message to spread quickly? Is it possible for us to "Move the Mover" by our prayers. If not, then why pray?
Let us pray without ceasing.