Why would you read a book about prayer?
Maybe you are not sure about how to pray. No one has ever talked to you about it?
Maybe you do pray but you think there are better ways to pray?
Maybe you think you pray pretty well but you want to put more zest in your prayer life?
Here is my personal reason. Prayer is my communication with God and I want it to be the best communication it can be. W. Bingham Hunter says that many Christians are not praying on God’s “wavelength” or they are trying to talk with Him with a lot of static on the line. There are problems with us understanding what He is saying.
I want to be on God’s wavelength and I want the static to go away.
As a Christian, I take very seriously God’s command that I should strive to be holy but what does this mean? It means that I am not satisfied with my automatic qualification to get to heaven just because I believe. It means that I am motivated to do more; to do good in this world [in God’s name]. I am not supposed to be a “moral neutral”; I am supposed to be an active agent showing others my love for God and my love for my neighbor. In short, I think that my behavior is a reflection of God working in me.
In Ephesians 2:10 Paul explains “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” As Jesus loved us, we are to love others.
To do all this, I need to hear from a Higher Source. I need guidance. I need wisdom. I need prayer.
As humans we are always asking what’s in it for me if I learn to pray more effectively?
Zest for life
An opportunity to live your best life ever, right here on this earth…
Think of the Jesus you see in Scripture. He was not a lost person, a weak person with no sense of purpose. As I read my Bible, I see Him as a capable, strong person who knew where He was going and why He was here. Wow, what a way to live!
In this chapter that I have been blogging on, the title is “Holy: How can I Approach Him”. We have discussed the holiness of God and many think we need to examine ourselves and see if we are worthy to pray before God [we are, but we feel we are not]. Many of the posts have been pretty negative, with me commenting on W. Bingham Hunter’s ideas about how we are falling short of God’s holiness and how some of us have given up and do not even try to approach God. We think He is too holy and we are far from holy.
But it is time to be positive. Read the words of Paul in Phillipians: “Not that I have…already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” [Phil. 3:12-14].
To have a “zest” for holiness and a “zeal” for life is very natural. The more we can act like we have God in us, the more we can experience the blessings that God intends for us to have on earth. Too many settle for mediocrity. Too many act like they have no purpose for living.
When life knocks you down, God intends for you to get up. When life gives you a loss, it is easy to become depressed but look around at your neighbors and you will see more dramatic losses. Those people need help; maybe your help. Their pain is probably greater than your pain. Don’t focus on what you can’t do; focus on what you can do. God intends for us to live a life of abundance, a full life, a life brimming with joy. How do we SEE others, FEEL for others, ACT to aid others? How do we share our joy? Pray and God will tell you through your Holy Spirit.
After convincing us that we are lacking in our knowledge of the holy, W. Bingham Hunter states how we can cure this problem. “You’ll never experience holiness or effective prayer just standing there. Get going” [Hunter, 29].
“Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” [2nd Timothy 2:22]
That’s why you read a book about prayer.