We need to remember that the journey of prayer is dynamic. We do not just offer our prayer to God and then forget about it. That would be like dropping it in a slot machine and waiting for the answer to drop out, without our engagement in the process.
Our life of prayer is constantly changing. That is why I focus on the journey of prayer. Many of the things that I have learned relate to the gift of prayer or as it is often called the gift of intercession. Even if you do not believe that you have this particular spiritual gift, I believe that every Christian will at some time face the need to intercede for someone. Those who do not have this calling as a spiritual gift, need not feel guilty or inadequate in any way because they are not like those who have been given this gift. Their prayers can be equally effective.
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21: 22)
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11: 24)
I do not know why God chose to give me the gift of prayer, but for a long time I was quite reluctant to talk to others about my life of prayer. I possibly might never have done so, had my husband not begun to refer to it from time to time. The problem was that when people heard about my extended times of prayer others would feel that in order to honour God they also had to include that particular discipline in their lives. This is not necessarily true. The wonderful thing about the life of faith is that each of us has our own unique journey with our own guide, the Holy Spirit who lives within us. He never imposes the same pattern on each of our lives, but with respect for our uniqueness, He leads us in the way that will most effectively enable us to develop into the people He desires us to be.
“I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.” (Isaiah 63: 7)
The most important element in our prayer journey, as in all parts of our development in faith, is what I call the orientation of our hearts. If our hearts are open to what the Spirit wants to teach us and to His guidance in our lives we will appreciate what He is doing and will become effective for His purposes. We will be open to trying new methods to be effective in the development of our spiritual lives that are in tune with the leading of the Spirit. We may learn them from comments from someone else, or something that we read or hear or an idea may come to us seemingly from out of the blue.
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.” (Daniel 9: 17)
Do you have any questions or comments about the uniqueness of our prayer journeys or about the concept of the orientation of our hearts? Please feel free to share them.