God has been sending me messages a lot these days that I’m not praying properly, that I need to focus while praying, and that I need to give prayer a part of my daily busy schedule. So I have no option, but to start a journey to learn how to REALLY pray even under a tight schedule.
I chose to read the book “Too Busy Not to Pray“, because of its title that describes my case to a certain extent; my case is actually “Too busy not to pray with all my heart, soul, and mind”, because while praying my brain would usually be at work, in paying back loans, in asking for a raise, in the summer vacation, in changing my job/starting a business…etc.
So to cut my intro short, I’ll be reading the book, and posting summaries, points to ponder, some reflections, and anything else that comes to my mind. The book is 15 chapters, so I expect to have 15 posts about it. One more thing, this is not an actual summary, it’s just using the book as a guide line, so I’m sure you will find stuff that the book doesn’t mention, or find me twisting some parts to reach other points.
God’s Presence, God’s Power
Since birth we have been learning to be independent to rely only on ourselves. We have learnt to struggle, in order to achieve what we want. Some people even reached the point to feel embarrassed to pray; as if praying is for sissies who can’t solve their own problems. But again, I’m sure all of us reached the point where we had no other option, but to fall on our knees and pray.
Why is it that we reached that point? It’s because we had no other option. We leave God till the end when we have no other option. Bill says:
Ask people who have faced tragedy or trial, heartbreak or grief, failure or defeat, loneliness or discrimination. Ask what happened in their should when they finally fell on their knees and poured their hearts out to the Lord. Such people have told me, “I can’t explain it, but I felt like God understood me.” Others have said, “I felt surrounded by His presence.” Or, “I felt comfort and peace I’d never felt before.“
I am sure many of us experienced this feeling, and I bet those of us who experienced it, experienced it in times of trouble. It’s because these are the times the we truly pray from all our hearts, souls and minds. St. Paul knew this feeling, and wanted to share it, so he wrote:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
The beauty of prayer is that it establishes an intimate relationship with God. Prayer in Arabic is called “Sala” and it is derived from another word “Sela” which means a relationship. Perhaps its relationship that is derived from prayer, in any case, it simply shows that prayer is a connection, a relationship between Heaven and earth, or simply between God and I.
Bill says that until a certain period he knew more about prayer than he practiced it, this is also my case, and probably with many others, especially those who give talks at churches. The terrible thing about that is the words we say about prayer don’t penetrate into others’ hearts, probably into their brains, but never into their hearts. The thing about prayer is that if you don’t practice it, you can’t teach it.
People are drawn to prayer because they know that God’s power flows primarily to people who pray.
Let’s take the story in Exodus 17:8-13, “as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning“. It was then that the power of prayer was evident! Prayer opens a channel for God’s prevailing power to be released.
That day prayer came in the form of Joshua and his troops prevailing in battle, but the power of prayer may take many forms. It could take the form of wisdom, courage, change of attitude, change of circumstances, miracles…etc. But always remember it is released in the lives of people who pray.
The other lesson from the story of Moses is “to keep the power flowing”, whenever he found Joshua winning and his hands got tired, he would put them down. God tried teaching him that he should keep the power flowing, don’t just give a push start and let go. Don’t just pray at times of trouble and then stop. Don’t just pray when there is something you can’t solve alone, and when it’s over you stop.
If you ever feel weary of praying, or feel that your prayers are ineffective remember what St. Augustine said. He said:
Prayer moves the hand that moves the world!
When you feel weary of praying, what do you do? What do you consider to be “Aaron and Hur” that help raise your arms when you can’t do it on your own?
Ps. The links to buy the book from Amazon are affiliate links, ie. I get some money whenever someone buys the book. Abiding by God’s words, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8), 100% of the money raised will be given to a ministry that serves poor people living in an Area called “El Gabal El Asfar”, literally “The yellow mountain” in the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. God bless you!