Monday, September 16, 2013

The Moment After

I get a lot of questions about prayer: "How should I pray?" "How can I pray more effectively?" "Does prayer really matter?"  Well, I can indefatigably say that prayer definitely matters.  There was a time in my faith life when I believed in prayer, but I didn't really BELIEVE in prayer (after all, I am a fourth generation Presbyterian...we Presbyterians believe in committees, but prayer is sometimes a stretch).  However, after pastoring two New Churches, having two kids, being married for 13 years, and overcoming many, many personal and spiritual obstacles, I can tell you that PRAYER MATTERS.

I am not an expert prayer, by any means.  I know of some people who can pray for hours at a time, and not even notice that five seconds has passed.  I know of people who pray deep theological prayers, and I know of people who pray deeply for the world.  I am neither of these.  I am not a great prayer.  But I do pray every night with Star, and have done for the past 6 years of our marriage.  After that, I pray every night, sometimes on my knees, when all the family have gone to bed, and I am alone contemplating my life...(in the world of the invertibrates).  But here is my big insight about prayer.  I have noticed that:

The Moment After...

prayer is more important than the moment before.  So often I have had the experience of worrying about something, or being upset about a matter.  Then, I go to God in prayer, and the moment right after is the moment that God speaks to me.  For example, just last night, I was praying about a topic that Star and I have been praying about for some time.  We prayed for about five minutes.  Immediately after the prayer was over;

The Moment After...

I had extreme clarity about the matter.  My problem was that I was not thinking big enough.  I wasn't praying large enough.  I wasn't praying for enough of a breakthrough.  I was going to God with a particular small matter, but really God wanted me (and I wanted me), to pray in a much more comprehensive way.  I went to Star and said, "I have the answer,"  She said, "What?"  I said, "We need to pray larger.  We need to pray not just for the one small thing we are praying for, but we need to pray for ten other things around it, that can immediately solve the one small thing we have been praying for. We need to pray much bigger!

Often in the middle of a meeting, or a counseling session, I will stop and say, "Why don't we pray about this for a moment."  And then,

The Moment After...

I ask the person in counseling, or I connect with the individual in the meeting and say, "What do you think now?"  Almost always that person has new insights and new vantage points about a particular matter.

So, I have begun a new type of prayer in my life.  It is to think about something to pray about, then to have a...

Moment After...

Then, I go to God about that thing that I received wisdom about in,

The Moment After...The Moment After

And then, I know what God wants me to pray about, verses simply what I think is the thing I should be praying about.

What about you?  Does God speak to you, like me, in...

The Moment After?

All For Now,

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