Developing a consistent prayer life can be difficult. Focus does not come easily, and often I find myself praying when it "really matters" and not talking to God daily. When I do I am glad I did because I find myself and my perspective changing and bending towards God - through acknowledging who God is, articulating gratitude for all we have been given, and asking God to step in where I cannot and guide my steps where I can go.
This has been a really difficult week for our larger Chicago-metro area. I prayed a lot this Tuesday night as events in Chicago that 'really mattered' were unfolding. I prayed that God would protect our city. I prayed that God would keep our children safe. I prayed God would comfort the family of Laquan McDonald. And I prayed violence would not create more violence. I prayed for wisdom from city leaders, who, though easy to poke fun at, have much more difficult jobs than we will even imagine. So I prayed for all of the above and much more.
Richard Foster said "the hinge of human history is swung by those who pray with passion." I want to be that person. I want us to be a church full of those people. I want us to pray with passion and change the course of human events by faith. I want our first response to tragedy to not be snark, social media rants, or shallow, predictable left and right political 'answers'. I want us to beg God to intervene in ways seen and unseen so that truth and righteousness prevail... full of awareness and gratitude of all we have been given, and full of expectancy of what God does and WHO God is.
This Thanksgiving Day, if you get to sit down to eat a feast with family or friends, I want to encourage you to pray with those people closest to you. Tell God what you are grateful for, and yes, bless the meal and pray for those not able to be there. But what if God's people offered focused and humble and honest and authentic prayer to the events of our lives, our families, and our world that will dominate our side conversations once the prayer is done? I believe it could change so much, beginning with ourselves.
1. Call on God. 2. Humble yourselves in truly grateful thanksgiving and honest need. 3. Ask and trust God to heal us and those around us.
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2nd Chronicles 7:14