I was talking with a friend today about prayer and I realized there are some things I’ve discovered about prayer and hindrances to a lifestyle of prayer that others might find a blessing to hear (just as my friend did!). Let me give a small disclaimer first, I am not saying I am an expert, I am not saying that the way I walk out “praying without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) is the only way; I am merely saying this is how I’ve walked it out and I have seen many answered (my marriage testimony is a great example and also shares how the Father launched me into a lifestyle of prayer).
Most people who don’t consider themselves strong in the area of prayer believe that people who are strong in prayer walk that out by spending countless hours each day on their face in intercession and travail.
While I don’t doubt there are people who live like that, I think the enemy uses this misconception to discourage people from even starting to become more active in prayer. Basically it’s like asking someone who doesn’t really exercise to go out and do a marathon. It’s not going to happen and it will feel totally overwhelming. So let’s start with walking 🙂
Filling the Bowls
In Revelation 5:8, John refers to “…golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” I love this visual! And when I think of our marathon prayer warriors on their faces for hours each day, I picture a bowl under a faucet that is turned on full blast. It’s flooooowing. That bowl will fill quickly.
But the fact is there is more than one way to fill a bowl. If you put a bowl under a dripping faucet, I guarantee you it will fill up at some point. So in my personal walk, I know I can’t always sustain long lengthy prayer times, but I make up for it in persistence. In other words, I do a lot of dripping. Some examples:
- I see a teenaged girl dressed like a whore and I’ll shoot a one-liner prayer up to the Father.
- My hubby does something wonderful I thank the Father for him and the good work I see Him doing in his life.
- A friend hurts my feelings, I confess the pain to the Father, forgive them, and bless them.
Whatever is happening in my life, there is almost always a point worthy of prayer in it. Blessing someone. Praying for mercy for someone. Standing for a miracle for someone. Drip. Drip. Drip.
The fact is most of us tend to dismiss short prayers as though they don’t “count” because they’re too simple and too short. As humans we like to make thing hard in our flesh so we feel like WE have done something, but the fact is us choosing to agree with the Father and what HE wants to do is more powerful than 100 hours of prayers coming from our flesh. It’s important we remember that it’s not in our strength but His that anything is accomplished.
I learned the importance of one-liner prayers a few years ago. I was driving by a neighborhood I hadn’t been through in 20+ years. It made me think of a guy I’d known back then who lived in this area and I simply smiled at the thought of him and said “Get him God!” Two weeks later who walks into my church but the very guy I’d prayed for – I hadn’t seen him in over 2 decades! He was homeless and living out of his van with his girlfriend. This started both their walks of faith. And I know that one-liner prayer of mine agreeing with the Father’s heart over this man helped bring this about.
But more than just my personal experiences, I want to pause for a moment and see how Jesus (Yeshua) prayed. Let’s start with Matthew 6:9-13 (the Lord’s prayer):
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
This is not a long prayer! And again, not saying long is bad – just saying short is not bad either. Let’s look at another. Here we find the Messiah in the garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:39
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
It’s a one-liner! Proof that one-line prayers “count” 😉 And again in verse 42:
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
Walking it out
For me, I “drip” constantly all day every day. I also have moments where I feel moved to turn up the water pressure and pray more. Drip. Drip. Flooooooooooooow. Drip. All the time. Walking this out isn’t unachievable or overwhelming, it’s merely a matter of making each day an ongoing conversation with the Father (and by the way, it’s in that dialog that I also hear the voice of the Father).
I encourage you to work towards dripping more (or if you drip well, floooooooow more)! Make an intentional choice to turn ongoing daily observations into prayer, even if they’re just one-liners. Bless you as you go fill bowls!
Father, help all of us reading this to “drip” more. Amen!