Personal Question: How’s Your Prayer Life?

In the study of James, the brother of Jesus, I came across an interesting anecdote about this young man’s life.  According to tradition, James, the brother of Jesus, had “camel knees”.

Come again?

The camel, an animal that spits believe it or not, is said to have thick calluses on their knees from all the genuflecting. According to multiple books, websites, and other periodical sources, James was known for the same thing (kneeling in prayer, not spitting).  He was constantly before the the Lord in conversation, prostrate in prayer.  What a bizarre alias for a man of God like James.

Is it so bizarre though?

In my life I have come to a spiritual road that has pushed me to re-examine my prayer life.  I have been in thought for the past couple of weeks over the “art of prayer” and what a “prayer life” looks like.  This stemmed from a idea that there had to be more to the communication we have with God than we are leading on.  The whole revisit to the world of prayer stemmed from my disgust of how we use “it”.

Confused?

Let me clarify.

  • Example 1: A couple of weeks ago we were in a meeting talking about how we were going to merge two elements in our worship service.  Somebody threw in the comment, “Just pray.”.  While the prayer element seemed like a tangible solution, I knew the only reason we decided to put it into the mix was due to the fact that it would “make a good transition”.  Transition? I was disgusted.
  • Example 2: We were sitting around getting ready to eat the other night and we bowed our head in a word of prayer.  I said the “blessing” and then realized that the only reason I prayed in the first place was out of tradition.  We always pray before we eat.  Was it heart felt?  Traditions?  Did I even care about what I was praying about? I was disgusted.
  • Example 3: The other night I laid in bed and  “prayed” about my life.  However, I felt like I was doing all the talking.  I felt like a selfish kid.  God was silent, so I shut up.  What is going on?  What is this all about? I was disgusted.

The solution came through the re-examination.

The re-examination starts by looking in the mirror.

Questions…

  • What happened to myself and my relationship with God to cause me to think this way?
  • When was the disconnect?
  • Where was the disconnect?
  • What needs to change to get back inline?

The matter came down to the heart and mind.

To stop the bleeding,

you have to find the wound.

Watch at the solutions that surfaced through heart and mind adjustment.

  • Example 1 re-visited: Using the transition of prayer is wrong if I allow myself to only see that prayer as a transition.  Prayer is so much more in a worship service.  Before it can take place, the person praying needs to adjust his or hers heart and mind to deliver what needs to be said before God. We must look at the prayer element as a sacred, holy experience, not a transition to fill time.  We are talking to God with a body of believers.  That’s massive!  Let the heart and mind focus on Him and Him alone.
  • Example 2 re-visited: When we give thanks for food or other possessions God has given us, we must stop and adjust our hearts so that we move beyond our mere traditions to make the most of our time conversing with God.  A refocus on reflection of provision is in order when we bow for grace.  I must take a moment and right myself to realize how truly great God is for providing for my common daily needs like food, water, and shelter.
  • Example 3 re-visited: So often at night I have learned to shut up and let God talk to me.  Prayer is a two way street that takes time, energy, and focus.  God speaks to me clearly at the end of the day if I remain silent and focus on Him through my heart and my mind.  God is in control even if I refuse to let Him be so I will adjust my heart and mind to focus on His voice.  I can hear Him clearly when my heart is right and my mind has adjusted to His voice.

So take a second.

Re-examine.

Prayer is about realization, revelation, and responsibility.  When our hearts and minds are in proper focus, our communication with God is the strongest. 

Perhaps we need to be totally immersed in prayer. 

Perhaps people need to see us as totally immersed in the element of prayer.

Perhaps people need to see how important the conversation is instead of just a simple act that we take for granted.

Perhaps…

James could have cared less about the the mocking bystanders, the nicknames, and the labels that were put on him because of how focused he was on the conversation that was taking place with God.

I want a prayer life like that.

How’s your prayer life?  Is it like James?  Is it total immersion?  It is heart and mind focused?  It is amazing to think about how effective we could be as Christians if we all re-examined ourselves in this area every time we bowed our heads.

Think about it.

-jordan

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