What if prayer had another dimension to it than what you know, have experienced, or what you are familiar with? What if prayer is way out of the box we’ve placed it in for so long, at least in some circles. Sometimes in our particular corner of Christendom we think that our particular tradition and prayer style is the only one God accepts and other traditions just don’t measure up.
I can say beyond the shadow of doubt that our particular way of praying isn’t the only one that has something worthwhile to say about prayer. Prayers from across time, traditions, and cultures have valuable lessons to teach us about prayer. Today I want to challenge you to venture out of your comfort zones and try a different approach to prayer.
I challenge you to try something fresh and out of the box, out of the norm that will deepen, freshen, and enliven your prayer life. When prayer invokes mercy you touch a “whole nother level” of prayer that your normal prayer routine and exercises cannot bring you. When prayer invokes mercy, you step out of the driving seat, allowing God to take control of things. Because sometimes our prayers sound just like we are God and He is our servant.
I read a story about a young man who after his conversion had a very difficult time finding the right church to fit in until he entered into a Greek Orthodox Church. According to him, on the surface, there were none of the worshiper-friendly trappings other churches offered. There were no comfortable seats –in fact there were no seats at all.
Worshippers stood in reverence for God. The music-ancient chants, mostly-wasn’t even remotely contemporary. The officiating priest didn’t make eye contact or try to appeal to the crowd. In fact, he spent 95% of the service with his back to the congregation, facing the altar in the front of the church instead.
According to him, God was the focus of everything. He said that he instantly felt at home in that place where the people revered God for His majesty and respected him for His mystery. The prayers-particularly the “Jesus Prayer” for which the Orthodox church is known ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” – were especially attractive to him.
He insisted that the prayers prayed didn’t tell God what to do. Instead, they humbly asked for His mercy in different situations. They prayed for the president. They prayed for the armed forces. They prayed for their country. They prayed for the sick.
But they didn’t presume anything. They simply trusted God to exercise His mercy and compassion in the things that concerned them.
Let not your heart be troubled today,
just trust the Lord…he knows your need. Don’t thing you have to use meaningless repetition as the gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them; for our heavenly Father knows what you need, before ask Him. Matthew 6:7, 8
Lord Jesus Christ – Son of God – Have mercy on me – a sinner – Amen!