"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays"
- Søren Kierkegaard
I diligently attempt to start my day with prayer, but I suspect I do it differently than most. Though I probably should, I start my day with prayer later than I typically "start my day". Yes, there are the breath prayers and short petitions, "Lord, help me here"-but it isn't until I get into my office that I usually offer up my start of day prayer. There, in a drawer that I can get into without even looking, is a small hand-held cross that fits in the palm of my hand, and I can wrap my fingers around. The New Horizons Sunday School class gave it to me a few years ago during the Christmas season, and it has been a blessing ever since.
The prayer that I like to start my day with is seldom a litany of my to-do lists. Yes, I do have a written list of people that have asked to be specifically named in prayers. Yes, there are the fears and hopes that weigh heavily on my heart. But most often my prayers are more along the lines of, "Lord, give me the wisdom to know the right things. Lord, give me the courage to make the right decisions. Lord, give me the strength to follow where you send me and the ability to help those whose paths I cross. Lord, help me to be the person you want me to be."
I know this sounds almost Solomonic. It's not supposed to. I'm not really wise enough to have gotten to this point without making a LOT of mistakes and poor decisions. Eventually I achieved the willingness to let go of MY petty wants and focus on what I believe Jesus taught us about going into a private audience with our Creator.
Too many people think that prayer is a great opportunity to win the Heavenly Sweepstakes. "Lord, smite my enemies, reward me for asking, take away the obstacles that I, myself have either created or feel powerless to change...oh, and could you give me the Powerball numbers." After all Jesus told us that if we truly believed and asked, God was waiting to grant our requests. Earlier the Bible says that He will "open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10 KJV).
I can't help but think we confuse what a blessing really is. It's not a seven-figure investment portfolio (though I wouldn't turn one down): it's a peace that passeth understanding; a confidence that we are children of God redeemed by a Savior that gave Himself for us when He was innocent and blameless. Feeling this in our hearts-in our bones-that's a blessing.
I know that when I start my day asking God to keep me focused; I have better days. I know when I pray for His will and not mine; I'm closer to Him. I know that I DON'T know so many things, but I ask God to help me learn. I ask because I'm told to. He gives because He promised. Praise God.
Peace and Love,