Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Centrality of Prayer

How important is prayer? If prayer and meditation are not foremost in our lives, what good are we to God? For that matter, if God (through prayer) is not first in our lives, then what good are we to anyone (i.e. friend, girl friend, family, random people we meet, who ever)? Should we not allow worldly things to get in the way of our relationship with God? ?Should not God come before other things? Such as: music, books, learning, even people? What would happen if we spent more time in prayer then reading some trivial novel (be it entertaining). Should prayer and meditation come before down time? Should prayer and meditation be our center. Should prayer and meditation be more to us than some thing we try to fit into out daily, mundane, trivial lives?

Excellent questions.

Prayer is one of the most significant things in our spiritual life. Without asking, God will do nothing-- God only acts when someone requests it. Apart from prayer, there is a system that God designed-- the natural world, government, spiritual judgment, etc-- that works adequately well, as far as it goes. But it doesn't work for everyone. If anyone wants God's mercy, or God's justice in an unjust situation, then they need to ask.

Prayer is not as significant among most of the the higher classes, because they already have decent lives. This is why when a country or society becomes well-off, spirituality may be significant, but devotion and supplication is little-- because so little is needed. God's special assistance is only desired when the regular systems of life fail. Those who do not need salvation rarely ask for it. After all, why pray "Give us this day our daily bread" when you have a refrigerator full of food? God's salvation is unnecessary and prayer becomes hollow.

This does not mean that the well-off cannot pray with sincerity. But it can only happen when they associate with the needy, and truly have compassion for them. Then they will find many to pray for and God will heed their prayers as long as they sacrifice what they have for the needy. But if prayer is all they offer to the needy they know, then their prayer becomes a curse to themselves, not a blessing (see James 2:14-17).

Prayer can also be connection to God. But what we don't want to ignore is that God connects to people through different ways. Not everyone is gifted with direct speech from the Spirit, just as not everyone is gifted with tongues. Some delve into the word for connection to God, some experience God through His people, some are intimate with God by living out the characteristics of God. So we can't be judging some because their lifeblood isn't prayer. That is only given to some.

Everyone should spend time with God. But it should be in the manner God has appointed them.

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