the weblog of Alan Knox

Pray this Way

Posted by on Dec 18, 2010 in discipleship | 3 comments

Pray this Way

How do you pray? Why do you pray like that?

These are honest questions. Questions that I’ve been asking myself for the last few years.

Prayer is extremely important. I’m assuming that most Christians (if not all) would agree with that last statement. But do we pray in a manner that is consistent with what we are told about and what we see modeled about prayer in the New Testament?

Why am I bringing this up now? Well, Steven from “Biblically Speaking” posted the following passage on Facebook:

… praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… (Ephesians 6:18 ESV)

Here’s a similar passage:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

These passages, and others like them, teaching something different about prayer than I have been taught (either formally or by example). I was taught with phrases such as…

Bow your head and close your eyes.

Who is going to say grace (the blessing)?

Did you have your quiet time?

Now, Brother Smith will bring our offertory prayer.

Let’s ask God to bless our plans.

Will you add me to your prayer list.

Repeat the following prayer after me.

The phrases above, and similar ones, teach that prayer is something that is sporadic… occasional… intermittent.

And, we see examples of this kind of prayer in Scripture.

But, the passages above indicate that prayer is something that is ongoing, continuous, uninterrupted.

How do we reconcile this?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 12-18-2010

    I think prayer has lost its meaning for many as evidenced in the kinds of things on your list. While I am still part of this kind of “prayer culture”–on a personal level, I am beginning to distance myself from these kinds of less-meaningful prayer traditions and striving for a more natural, raw, and spontaneous communication with God. Not there yet, but have begun the journey.

    As Amy Grant sings in her “Better Than a Hallelujah”

    …the tears of shame for what’s been done,
    the silence when the words won’t come,
    are better than a hallelujah sometimes…

  2. 12-18-2010

    You are right Alan. We so pigeon hole God into neat little pockets of religious this and that, religious activities, religious ceremonies not realizing that He is our life and desires intimacy with us together as part of a meaningful loving relationship. I see praying as almost if not another synonym for living by the life of Christ, living in Him, living by faith in the Son of God, living by the Spirit, following Christ, obeying Christ, listening and paying attention to what He says, doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus, setting our hearts/minds on things above, etc. This seems to me to show a sense of God’s desire and eagerness to want a continual ongoing walk with Him, therefore a continuous life of prayer. Seems to me anyways. Great stuff!

  3. 12-19-2010

    Guy and John,

    Have either of you read Brother Lawrence’s Practice the Presence of God? He expresses a desire to see God involved in every conversation. Specifically, when I am praying and someone walks up, that person is not interrupting my prayer, but joining in a three way conversation.