Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thoughts on Prayer

For a long time now it has bothered me when people would act as though someone is a "better prayer" than someone else. Does God not hear us all alike and treat each person's prayer with the same attention? I have heard things like, "Those people really know how to pray." or, "I have asked the people that are the best prayers I know." That's always just rubbed me the wrong way. I thought, perhaps some are given a gift for prayer, I guess that could be what they mean. I don't know what other people's thoughts are. I did find something that made me think today, however.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God had dealt to each one a measure of faith. Hebrews 12:2

So, this struck something in me. Often I think we tend to take credit for the faith that we have in our prayer. Our level of faith is something that we forget to give God credit for. I have been thinking for a while about the fact that some faith is given by God. It's those feelings of peace and strong confidence that something is true when you have no reason to believe it so by proof or circumstances. You just know because of a measure of faith that you have been given.

I think that most of us would agree that there is a strong correlation between faith and prayer. I am no Bible scholar and I actually would say that there is much that I am very clueless on. I do remember a few times when Jesus was frustrated with our lack of faith (or that of the people around him I suppose). They were limited in completing things that he had given them authority to do because of their lack of faith. An example is when they could not heal the demon possessed boy. Jesus healed him and then was asked by his apostles why the could not do it.

Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

It just made me think, are some people's prayers more effective because they have stronger faith? And do they have stronger faith because God gave them a gift for stronger faith? And if this is so, should we not be giving more credit to God for his graceful gift of faith? Why does the credit so often go to the wrong place? I am guilty of thinking my faith was all me, that the amount of faith I had was something that I gained from experience. When I actually thought about it today as I read that first passage and had it hit me, I realized that the times I have prayed with greatest strength have been when the Lord gave me that special gift. When I had a peace and a knowledge outside of myself.

One thing I want to point out- just because God gives us a gift doesn't mean we take advantage of it. We can talk ourselves out of our gift of faith just like not using any other gift we have been given. In this country especially, I think that we tend to rationalize away the power of God and both his desire to help and also his ability. I know that the miraculous can happen today and that I don't want to be at fault for limiting a situation by not taking advantage of the faith I have been gifted. I must protect myself from rationalizing and questioning. Doubt tries to overcrowd my faith, but I will rest in the knowledge that my faith is a blessing from God.

These are of course just my thoughts. I could be totally wrong on my interpretation. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

Lisa(Mom) said...

I think we all have the "gift" of faith but some of us are not as able to accept it.
When we pray there is the real prayer and the "going through the motions" prayer. I think it helps to spend a few minutes in silence in our minds just to quiet or own thoughts and invite the spirit to speak through us and then comes the really powerful prayer. And yes I think some are better at it than others. We are all given gifts and prayer is something you can have a gift for.
That is not to say that every prayer is not good or effective, and I believe that prayer gains power in numbers.