What if prayer had another dimension to it than what we have experienced? What if prayer is way out of the box we’ve placed it in? Sometimes, in our particular corner of Christendom we think that our particular tradition and prayer style is the only one God accepts. In fact , for us, 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. If we could just step out of our comfort zones, lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance, we would discover a lot of valuable lessons about prayer in other Christian traditions. 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. Something that will deepen and enrich your prayer life. I have been a Christian for many years now, but have only recently attempted to do a 40 day of prayer and consecration leading up to Easter. In some Christian circles, they call it Lent. In my corner of Christendom, we just don’t do Lent. But I am having a time of my life doing what I’m calling - “Going Completely Lent.”
So, we are going to go on a journey to discover a prayer tradition that I knew nothing much about until recently. 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 driver’s seat, and you allow 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 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, the priest spent the entire service with his back to the congregation. Now, for me, that is different. I have never seen a priest facing the altar in the front of the church the entire time.
According to him, 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 said, God was the focus of everything and he instantly felt at home in that “place where the people revered God for His majesty and respected him for His mystery.”
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.”
I thought deeply about this and realized that we are too obsessed about telling God what we want Him to do. We abuse His invitation to ask for our daily bread. Or, I should say, we settle for only asking and telling Him what we want. But that is not all to prayer. What if we could spend our time not presuming anything, but lifting our prayers with an understanding that “He knows what we need even before we open our mouths?” I thing it will invigorate our prayer lives and sap the anxiety from our lives.
Check out these scriptures:
The purpose of this post today is to urge you to “Let not your heart be troubled.”
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 you ask Him. Matthew 6:7, 8
So today make this your prayer – Lord Jesus Christ – Son of God – Have mercy on me – a sinner – Amen!
Watch what God will do.
When prayer invokes mercy, God is in control, and He moves on our behalf.
Stay blessed today!