This past Sunday, Pastor Fred taught on prayer in our core seminar. Two words that he used to describe the place prayer should have in our lives as well as the way we should pray stayed with me.
Saturate - he said that our day should be saturated with prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says "Pray without ceasing." Our whole day should be a continual turning of our thoughts, hearts, and will to God. This doesn't mean that we stop everything we are doing and go into our prayer closet for the whole day. Rather, it means that everything that goes on in our day is a matter for prayer. Do I have a very full day ahead? Pray that God would order it to accomplish His good purposes for the day. Am I tired and grouchy? Pray that God would give me a rest and a cheerful heart. Am I frustrated about something I have messed up on? Pray for forgiveness if sin is involved and for His redeeming hand to take my messes and use them for my good and His glory. Have I just received a phone call from a hurting and confused friend? Pray for compassion and words of tender wisdom. Have I just seen a bluebird flit across the front yard or discovered a particularly lovely foxglove blossom in the garden. Thank Him for creating such beauty and giving me the gift of eyes to see. The point is that God is always with us and wants us to carry on a continual conversation with Him through the day. To fail to do that would be like going somewhere with someone you love for the whole day and failing to speak to him the entire time. We'd never do that. Why do we go through entire days sometimes without talking to the One who loves us more than any other and to whom we owe our deepest devotion, highest praise, and most heartfelt thanksgiving. Saturate.
Linger - Fred's example was of a friend who comes to visit and you say good-bye but you stand at the door, talking. And you walk out on the front step, talking. And you stroll down the sidewalk to the driveway, talking. And you stand by the car, still talking. You don't want to part. There's still more to talk about. You linger in conversation. Fred encouraged us to linger with the Lord in prayer, to keep praying until we really pray - not just listing off requests, but really talking, praying Scripture, and listening. Praying long enough to remember all the things you have thought you needed to pray about but never seemed to get to or couldn't call to mind in the hurried prayer time. The Lord is not in a hurry and there is so much to pray about. If you have ever attended a prayer meeting that was supposed to go on for two or three hours and wondered how you would ever pray for that long and then realized that the time flew by, you will appreciate the sweetness of and need for longer times set aside for prayer. Linger.
Those two simple words give me handles for focusing my prayer life. Thanks, Pastor Fred. I want this week to be one of saturating and lingering. Reader, will you join me?