July 5, 2013

Of Fire Pits and Prayer

I must confess...  I love a good campfire. Whether at the campground or in the fire pit in the back yard, I put down roots right next to the fire and hang out there until it's all done. The smell, the sounds, the dancing flames, the soothing wonder of it all. Our fires have been one of the best places for family conversation and also for family silence together.

Before we start the fire, we make sure we have an ample supply of fuel for the fire. A lot of it, please and thank you. I build a leaning tower of wood and light it up. No wood. No fire. It's as simple as that. Without the preparation of gathering and chopping the wood, there is nothing to light.

I see many Christians standing around holding a full tank of prayer lighter fluid and a big match, with the gleam of good intentions in their eyes. And nothing comes of it. There's no fuel for the prayer fire. There has been no preparation fitting for prayer (no time in the Bible, no vision of our extreme need and God's extreme generosity, no worship vocabulary beyond the standard sunday school answers, no attempt to see the war that already exists in the life of the Christian and for the souls of the lost). Instead, there has been a lot of fun, fun, fun. Entertainment by the forest full. Distractions by the thousands.

When this sad situation is pointed out, many Christians panic and immediately set the match to the lighter fluid, and have the hottest one or two minutes of prayer that you can imagine. These impromptu prayer immolation pyres are not necessary, dear friends.  If you are one that struggles with prayer, here's an article from author Don Whitney that recommends remedial, accomplishable, and wise steps to be taken.  To give you a preview of his main point, here's a small excerpt.

"The Psalms are the best place in Scripture from which to pray Scripture.  This is because of the original purpose and usage of the Psalms.  The Psalms were songs inspired by God for the purpose of being reflected in song back to God.  Moreover, there’s a Psalm for every sigh of the heart.  The entire range of human emotion is recorded in the 150 Psalms."

You can read the entire article here.

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