One of the most common misconceptions about prayer is that it’s only useful for getting ourselves out of jams. The prayers typically of broken people desperately clasping both hands together with tears tears streaming down their faces as they bare their soul to an intimidating crucifix. What the movies don’t usually show are the types of prayers experienced and taught by Jesus in the Bible – prayers that reflect a true friendship between two people excited to spend time together.
The crutch is a tool that was designed for people who were no longer able to support their weight due to injury or disability. In a lot of ways, this is what we’ve turned prayer into: a device used to get us through hard times. The problem with this is that it only gives us a small idea of what’s possible through conversations with God. And, like a crutch, this implies that if we’re not injured we have no need for it.
Jesus was an inspiring and fascinating person. He had no sin. However, he prayed more than anyone alive. Consider some of his prayers:
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
Luke 3:21-22 (NLT)
When Jesus prayed, there was power. It was noticeable. He had a relationship with his dad that changed everything around him.
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
Luke 6:12 (NLT)
Jesus viewed prayer as way more than a crutch. He wanted to spend the entire night with God.
18 One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
Luke 9:18 (NLT)
Jesus, after spending time praying, was filled with confidence. How many of us leave a time of prayer ready to hear what other people think of us?
Personally, I grew up going to church and seeing prayer as a crutch. It’s the reason why personal change has been so difficult for me – it’s taken me most of my life to realize that an entire world of possibilities were at my disposal through honest prayers, where I really discovered more about myself and what God thought about me.
- What do you typically pray about?
- What are you afraid to pray about?
- What one thing could you start praying about that would bring about change in your life and the lives of those around you?
This year, let’s make real change our goal. Take time throughout your day to have a conversation with God, free of duty. You’ll find that the results will be more exciting than you could have ever imagined.