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Prayer is Work

Prayer is work. At least for most of us. There are barriers we must overcome in order to make it happen -and enjoy it. Why? Why is prayer work? Here are some reasons:
1. Prayer is work when our hearts are captured and satisfied by earthly matters more than God. It’s like gravity. Gravity exerts a force that pulls our spirits down to earth. There is shopping to do and parenting and work and recreation and TV and . . .. The gravity is strong. But, just like gravity, the farther we remove our hearts from the earth, the more it loses its grip. In outer space, gravity has no hold on us. And the closer our hearts get to Jesus, the less the things of this earth hold a grip on us. And prayer becomes more natural and easy.
2. Prayer is work when we don’t see God as a loving Father who wants to lavish blessings on us. If we think of God as distant, remote, uninvolved, or judgmental, condemning, and never satisfied, then who would want to spend time with Him? But to spend time with someone who is patient with us, and understanding, and who doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve but according to his grace and mercy, then pray is easy. We hear God smile, “Great to hear from you! I’ve been waiting to give you what your heart really longs for.” That is not work.
3. Prayer is work when what we want and ask for is not what God wants to give us. These kind of prayers feel like work because they aren’t answered. But Jesus says he will answer prayers that are prayed according to his will. This isn’t always easy, though, is it? Let’s face it -we want life lite. We want it easy. But any simple reading of the Scriptures will reveal that suffering and struggles and hardships are part of the Christian life. And the sooner we accept that, and pray for faith, and holiness, and love, and courage, the sooner we will get what we really want -and prayer will be a lot easier.
4. Prayer is work when our lives are too busy and full. It’s work to find 5 minutes a day to sit quietly in the presence of God when there is so much else that “must” be done. When we say we don’t have time to pray -when we say we are too busy to pray -it’s a cop-out. We deceive ourselves. We always have time to do what we really want to do -especially if it only involves a few minutes. Yes, it’s a matter of priorities. But we can also help ourselves if we slow down, simplify our lives, de-clutter them, so that we can hear God’s voice invite us to fellowship with him. Hearing an invitation from a loving God to spend time with him for 5 minutes is not work ¬it’s pleasure.
5. Prayer is work when it isn’t honest. Not being honest with God in prayer is foolish. Do we actually think he doesn’t know what we are thinking and feeling? But it’s not only foolish, it undermines an authentic relationship with God. One only has to read a few of the Psalms to see honest emotions of doubt, frustration, discouragement and fear coming through. It may not always be a pretty sight, but God would much rather an honest conversation than a fake one. It’s when we are honest with God that God can begin to minister to the hurts and lies we live with. Tell it like it is to God. Do it humbly and with a spirit of listening to God when you’re done being real. But be honest. It’s work to be a fake.
Paul talks of his friend, Epaphras, who is “always wrestling in prayer” for the church (Col. 4:12). Prayer is work. But not all prayer should be work. Some of it should be as natural as eating and sleeping. Would you take some steps to make prayer easier, so that spending time with God about topics like yourself, your family, CVC and the kingdom of God will flow from your heart like water over a water fall? Prayer may be work, but it’s not supposed to be a chore!