This past Sunday, Pastor Nathan preached on prayer becoming second nature to us. As I pondered his words, I wondered why I did not feel it came as second nature to me. I have always heard prayer defined as a conversation with God. We are taught that we ought to pray in a certain manner. I once heard a pastor share a mnemonic device on how to properly pray-ACTS: Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication. Didn't really sound like a good flow of conversation to me. We are taught by Christ to follow His example, and pray as He taught in Matthew chapter 6...go into a closet (room), shut the door and pray in secret. Have some time with just you and Jesus. You don't need to use "showy" words or even a lot of words. Christ knows what we're asking for before we even get to it.
So, if He knows what we're going to say, why say it at all? Why does He need to hear from us? John Wesley states that prayer is more than a declaration of our needs and our praise. Prayer is our response to God's presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit; and, in prayer, we stand gratefully before God, thanking Him for His gift of the Spirit, through whom we are closest to God. Wesley believed so strongly in prayer that he spent four hours a day "conversing" with God.
This conversational aspect of prayer is hard to grasp. In my thinking, I thought about how I speak with the people around me. When I start a conversation with someone, it always seems easy to move from one subject to another seamlessly. When I call my oldest friend, she and I can pick up a conversation from weeks ago. It is that easy.
So, why can't we feel this way about conversing with God? He knows what we spoke about the last time and is ready to listen again. If we can talk to friends we see often and those we don't see often enough, why do we not feel the same about God? Is it because we don't talk to Him the way we do with our friends?
So, I guess, I need to consider prayer becoming second nature. After all, I do love a good conversation.
Denia Carter, Lay Servant