Prayer, to me, has been one of those things that are sketchy. It is supposed to be an activity with a divine characteristic. Despite that, I viewed prayer as merely putting us into a mindset, and practicing our relationship with God; I never experienced the divine or spiritual part of prayer. On a small aside, I suppose you can view my experience with prayer as a testament to the idea that what we know is more than just what we’re taught, but also what we experience.
I had never experienced the divine nature of prayer. There were many times, and I’m sure there will continue to be many more, that I had prayed in asking, and what I had asked for had not been answered in the fashion I wanted or was expecting. ((It should be clarified that prayer isn’t asking for things. That is a child’s form of Christianity, if one may even call that a form of Christianity. Prayer is an intimate time and reflection with God.)) Let me share the one profound experience I’ve had with prayer.
When I started college, I was worried for my spiritual life. I made it a purpose to integrate my faith into my daily life: The cliche says, “Use it or lose it,” and I didn’t want to lose it at all.
During freshman orientation, I quickly became involved in InterVarsity, a Christian fellowship group. In addition to IV (InterVarsity) I attended the affiliated freshman Bible study. Prior to this Bible study, I had never been in a Bible study before. These studies can be very tantalizing, but I suppose my fervid interest in theology skews the objectiveness of my opinion.
I brought up the statement that I felt like I was failing spiritually. I hadn’t been to church in the longest time, and the fellowship with other Christians didn’t seem to do much for me. ((When in fact the reality is that we gain more when we give more. Jill Briscoe wrote a revealing and little book about a story of a little pot of oil from 2 Kings in the Bible.)) So I brought up my “failure” and asked if my Bible study would pray that I regain my “spiritual fitness”.
The most amazing thing is that the prayer worked. Write me off right here as a lunatic — that’s what I would have done prior to this experience. How can words possibly do anything? ((Words are very powerful, but I meant this sentence in the context, “How can words directly alter future events?” Even in that rephrasing, words still can alter events in the future.)) They did, though! They did!
The night of that prayer I naturally slipped into my quiet time with God. It was just like my quiet times during high school — right before bedtime, and I would spend at least an hour or more just focused on God. It wasn’t premeditated at all. It just happened.
This was a very powerful experience. Prayer is a very powerful tool. Imagine if every Christian could pray authentically and everyday — maybe even every hour of the day! Imagine how much the world could be changed through prayer. Now I don’t mean to rely on prayer as the sole means for solutions. That is a fool’s and a lazy lard’s hope. God didn’t craft us with a brain and limbs to sit around and pray all day. We have prayer, but we can also be pro-active.
I meant to make more of this post — especially on the effectiveness of prayer, and jointly the skepticism of it. I suppose prayer is one of those things where you have to experience it. People could give testimonies on their own experiences for ages, and one could still remain a skeptic in concern to prayer.