“To pray is to change. . . . If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticable characteristic of our lives.” – Richard Foster
I just finished reading the chapter in Celbration of Discipline on prayer, and this quote at the beginning of the chapter hit me hard. It really begs the question: is a noticable characteristic of my life prayer?
Sadly, I don’t think it is. I do pray and try to make it a part of my day, and believe wholeheartidly that prayer is crucial to knowing God and walking with him… or maybe I should say I believe it wholeheadidly because if it had truely sunk into my heart as a truth, I would practice it more. I just am not convinced that people would see prayer as something that defines me – like playing guitar or wearing glasses.
I think we live in a culture which isn’t friendly to prayer, which isn’t a big surprise to anyone. We’re marketed at to be busy and entertained. When we’re not working hard at a career or volunteering or even with our household responsabilities, we’re taught that it’s normal and good to allow ourselves to be entertained. We watch TV, play video games, and involve ourselves in heathy hobbies and interests like jogging or reading. We’re used to background noise, and if we’re too tired to do anything else, we turn on TV or put on some music and just ‘veg’. It’s funny to me, none of these things are bad, I’m not suggesting that anyone quits their day job to pray all day, but I think I (and others probably) need to rearrange some priorities to see prayer as something that is as important (or more) than these things.
I don’t know many people to whom I would say prayer is a noticable characteristic of their life. I know many who I would say strive to live in a way that God will change them. The irony strikes me most with people my age and in my aproximate time of life.
Change is something that everyone in their late teens and early twenties is seeking and heading towards (whether they know it or not). It is, in our culture, the time when the transition from child to adult takes place – or at least when one breaks away from the authority of parents and begins to make decisions of their own and feel the reprocussions of them. We all want to change, to fulfill our dreams, to become better people… but I think we’re the ones who are busiest and don’t have the discipline to find the time for prayer and being in the Word of God. Part of that is that we don’t see the power of prayer lived out often – most Christians in North America live trusting in God, but not leaving gaps for him to show his power except for when things get out of hand. I wonder what would happen if older believers modeled that more openly to us (or maybe just started living it). I wonder even more what would happen if we as younger belivers could model it for the older ones.
When it comes down to it, these are just words. I could write a book on things that are wrong and how to fix them, but if I’m not doing anything about it, it doesn’t matter one bit. On that note, I’m done this blog for now… I’m going to go and try to learn more about prayer through practice…