Too Busy Not to Pray – Part 1 of 15

These days I’m reading the book “Too Busy Not to Pray” by Bill Hybels. I’ve had this book for a while, but ironically I’ve been too busy not to read the book .. lol ūüôā

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.

Prayer is a channel for God’s power

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!

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7 thoughts on “Too Busy Not to Pray – Part 1 of 15

  1. Mike, I’m really looking forward to you doing this! I always need help and to keep learning. I know prayer is important and I pray . .. but would love to know more and to pray with more understanding of His power in it . . .and to pray without ceasing and etc. etc. haha! God bless you as you keep us posted on prayer!

    1. Thanks Debbie for your continuous encouragement ūüôā
      I was actually waiting to know YOUR Aaron and Hur that keep you so commited to prayer and writing your daily posts without missing a day.

  2. You are right Mike prayer is the experiential part of our walk with God. It is fueled by our knowledge but it is a work of the heart primarily and then the mind. It is our going in to the Lover of Our Souls. Intimacy can never be taught by those who have never experienced it!

  3. Dear Mike,

    Like often happens, you and I posted about the same subject today: prayer. I, too, have felt less than obedient about my prayer life because I wasn’t serious about it. This past week I was confronted about that by our gentle Jesus. I was studying prayer in a course I took this past week in preparation for being a nurse in the churches in the county where I live. I wrote about what I learned over at http://dschondog.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/apraysing-intercessory-prayer/

    Your book choice is certainly one with which many would agree. Bill Hybels is pastor of a 24,000 member church in Illinois and he did it with a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary doctorate of divinity. He has a passion for the world and seeing the world come to Christ through the transformation of the church as church leaders who are sold out to Christ lead their parishioners into the world. This is a praying man. He knows where his power comes from.

    Through prayer God convicts us and then we can be used as channels for his power. You give such good examples of this by telling about Aaron and Hur and Joshua and the troops. In these examples, God empowered human actions to accomplish the tasks that needed done. I never thought about prayer in that way before. I always just thought I was throwing words up into heaven, but believing that I become a part of the solution when I connect with heaven makes the process much more serious. It demands my attention.

    God bless you, Mike, as you sift through this with us,
    Dawn

    1. Hey Dawn, I apologize for the very late reply. I hope you are great as always. Thanks for the lovely intro about Bill Hybels, and it’s true what you said about prayer, becoming part of the solution truly makes the process much more serious.

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