What if prayer had another dimension to it than what we have experienced? What if prayer is way out of the box we’ve placed it in? Sometimes, in our particular corner of Christendom we think that our particular tradition and prayer style is the only one God accepts. In fact , for us, other traditions just don’t measure up.
I can say beyond the shadow of doubt that our particular way of praying isn’t the only one that has something worthwhile to say about prayer. If we could just step out of our comfort zones, lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance, we would discover a lot of valuable lessons about prayer in other Christian traditions. Today I want to challenge you to venture out of your comfort zones and try a different approach to prayer.
I challenge you to try something fresh and out of the box, out of the norm. Something that will deepen and enrich your prayer life. I have been a Christian for many years now, but have only recently attempted to do a 40 day of prayer and consecration leading up to Easter. In some Christian circles, they call it Lent. In my corner of Christendom, we just don’t do Lent. But I am having a time of my life doing what I’m calling – “Going Completely Lent.”
So, we are going to go on a journey to discover a prayer tradition that I knew nothing much about until recently. When prayer invokes mercy, you touch a “whole nother level” of prayer that your normal prayer routine and exercises cannot bring you. When prayer invokes mercy, you step out of the driver’s seat, and you allow God to take control of things. Because sometimes, our prayers sound just like we are God and He is our servant.
I read a story about a young man who after his conversion had a very difficult time finding the right church to fit in until he entered into a Greek Orthodox Church. According to him, on the surface, “there were none of the worshiper-friendly trappings other churches offered. There were no comfortable seats –in fact there were no seats at all. Worshippers stood in reverence for God. The ancient Chants, mostly-wasn’t even remotely contemporary. The officiating priest didn’t make eye contact or try to appeal to the crowd.” In fact, the priest spent the entire service with his back to the congregation. Now, for me, that is different. I have never seen a priest facing the altar in the front of the church the entire time.
According to him, The prayers, particularly the “Jesus Prayer” for which the Orthodox church is known, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ – were especially attractive to him. He said, God was the focus of everything and he instantly felt at home in that “place where the people revered God for His majesty and respected him for His mystery.”
He insisted that the “prayers prayed didn’t tell God what to do. Instead, they humbly asked for His mercy in different situations. They prayed for the president. They prayed for the armed forces. They prayed for their country. They prayed for the sick. But they didn’t presume anything. They simply trusted God to exercise His mercy and compassion in the things that concerned them.”
I thought deeply about this and realized that we are too obsessed about telling God what we want Him to do. We abuse His invitation to ask for our daily bread. Or, I should say, we settle for only asking and telling Him what we want. But that is not all to prayer. What if we could spend our time not presuming anything, but lifting our prayers with an understanding that “He knows what we need even before we open our mouths?” I thing it will invigorate our prayer lives and sap the anxiety from our lives.
Check out these scriptures:
The purpose of this post today is to urge you to “Let not your heart be troubled.”
just trust the Lord…he knows your need. Don’t thing you have to use meaningless repetition as the gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them; for our heavenly Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. Matthew 6:7, 8
So today make this your prayer – Lord Jesus Christ – Son of God – Have mercy on me – a sinner – Amen!
Watch what God will do.
When prayer invokes mercy, God is in control, and He moves on our behalf.
Stay blessed today!
good read! My favorite scripture regarding prayer, one I stand on every day, is Matthew 18:19 I am always in favor of stepping out of our boxes that we create, even unknowingly!
Matthew 18:19 is a truly great verse… It is an amazing thing to trust and believe in a God with whom nothing is impossible.
Beautifully written Walter, everyone see things differently, and find what is very comfortable for them. God created us all, I will never lay claim that there is only one way to pray, but I know when one humbles his heart and has faith within, and tries to emulate goodness in their lives each day sharing with others the selfless love from God to others helping, caring, feeding nourishing, doing what The Lord did as an example each day of their lives! I know the Lord will not turn away. Love the lord your God with all your heart and soul, and love all humankind as yourself, and you will follow the other commandments by nature and one will surely be blessed. Lets believe that God in all his perfection is not as hard as we are in our imperfection. Great message my brother…God bless!
Hey Wendell, great comment… spot on and powerful. Thank you for adding value to this post! See you on you blog!
Thanks for sharing this story about approaching prayer from a different perspective. We can all get in a rut, praying, worshiping the same way (regardless of our faith tradition). That short “Jesus prayer” says so much about who God is and who we are and our relationship with Him.
Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
indeed not many words, yet powerful… Stay blessed Constance!
A Sunday morning service where God is the center of attention – and not the congregation – what a novel concept in our consumer-oriented world, eh? 😉
How thankful I am that God’s mercy is new every morning.
Thanks for the thought… And you are so right. Instead of worshiping God, we worship worship. Instead of celebrating God, we waste our time talking about how awesome our pastor is, Instead of making Christ the center of our message, we allow our props, illustrations, quotes, and stories to steal the glory from Him who is eternal, immortal, and worthy of all the glory.
If only the Lamb is worthy in Heaven or Earth, then what else can we ask for besides mercy? I always appreciate your reverence for Christ in your expressions.
I believe strongly that Jesus should be the center of everything we do. To make him famous our call. I pray for more mercy every day. Thanks for the comment and stay blessed!
Reblogged this on A Christian Warrior and commented:
A good thoughtful post
Because of who I am I like different styles so I am on board with this
Hey Chris, stay blessed. thanks for sharing…
Very true. God bless you for sharing.
Thank you Joseyphina! How have your been?
I am well by God’s grace. Thanks for asking. Hope you are too. Have a wonderful day, Walter.
I am blessed! Have a great day as well…
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Amen, I truly believe you have open my eyes my dear friend. I was working on a poem about prayer, but wasnt praying for myself but everyone else. I believe I should share it today on my blogl. God Bless 🙂
I look forward to it!