I recently began watching the new Netflix series, Anne With an E, which is based on the best-selling novel, Anne of Green Gables. Since I enjoyed the book immensely, I had high hopes for the series, and thus far, I'm not disappointed.
There was, however, a particular part of the first episode that rubbed me the wrong way. Anne, being an orphan the majority of her life, confessed to Marilla Cuthbert (her soon-to-be guardian) that she never said her prayers because she didn't know how. When the young girl asked Marilla to teach her to pray, the middle-aged woman's instructions were short, sweet and somewhat lacking. "First, you must kneel down," she said. "Now thank the Lord for all your blessings, then tell Him what you want." That was it! That was her definition of prayer. Give thanks and ask for your desires.
Sadly, I fear many of us are guilty of short-changing prayer in the same way. Yes, it is good to thank the Lord for His many blessings, and we should do that regularly. And yes, it's okay to ask God for our needs and even our wants. However, prayer goes far beyond gratitude and a wish list. Prayer is a chance to commune with a holy God. It is the opportunity to sit and chat with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It gives strength for the day and peace for the heart. It provides fertile ground for growth in our spiritual walk and enlightens us by revealing more of God Himself.
Prayer is a war room experience where some of the fiercest battles of our lives take place. It gives us the opportunity to tap into a power source far beyond our own. And beyond what we gain from it, prayer also provides us with the chance to give. We can offer ourselves to God. We give our time and attention to what He has to say to us. We show Him that He is preeminent in our lives by setting aside all else to spend time with Him. We prove our trust and faith in Him by being still and resting in His presence. Believe it or not, God enjoys the benefits of our time together as much as we do.
The Lord has been dealing with me about my prayer life a lot lately. The topic seems to be popping up everywhere, even in my television shows. From that, I glean that my prayer life is not what it should be, and after hearing what Marilla Cuthbert had to say about prayer, I realized I'm guilty of the same. While I know that prayer is more than gratitude and a glorified wish list, my actions are not portraying that knowledge. I don't know about you, but I think it's time we stop missing out on the power of prayer by reducing it down to a mere trickle of what it really is. How much better would life be if we prayed fervently with the proper motives and attitude? How would our lives change, or better yet, how much could we impact the lives of others?
Friends, there is power in prayer, but whether or not we tap into that power is our choice. God is waiting to hear from us and speak to us. Will we join Him?
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. - Luke 11:1