I want to invite you to read the post today by Mariane Doktor. I met Mariane through Facebook and she has a desire to write for God. So I hope you will welcome her today by sharing a comment below and show her your appreciation for her written words. So welcome Mariane…
Three Remarkable Resemblances Between Prayer and Brushing Your Teeth
by Mariane Doktor
Imagine you’re back in high school and going to an oral exam in your worst subject, i.e. math. You are nervous and unprepared. You step into the exam room, greet your teacher and the external examiner and receive the questions. Then: breakdown! No words but, “Well…”
That was how I viewed prayer in my first years as a Christian. I hated to pray. I found it hard and exhausting, and I could not find any words. When I prayed with people from my congregation, I was blocked. It was uncomfortable letting other people hear my prayer, and addressing God felt awkward. I wanted to talk to Him, but I did not feel I was good enough. To me, praying was in some ways like going unprepared to an exam in math, because I had no clue what I was doing, and I tried, hoping I did something correctly.
I found praying difficult because I felt society told me to be an independent grown-up who took responsibility for my own life, who had control and power. I wanted to be effective, productive, adept, and strong. At school, I always strived to get an A. In prayer, I wanted to say all the right words and have a right, holy attitude. Therefore, I strived for perfection when I prayed.
Later I realized God is not a teacher or an external examiner, and he does not expect me to be perfect. He wants me to be myself instead of pretending to be a saint. God is my friend and Father. I can tell Him anything.
I now understand 1) praying is easy, 2) I am compelled to pray, and 3) I have to make a praying habit. I found out God answers prayers.
1. Praying is Easy
God knows all your needs and desires; He knows your prayers before you begin to pray. His Spirit helps you and prays for you with Jesus (Romans 8:26). Therefore, you do not need to remember all the people or topics on your prayer list or find the right words. You can pray the prayer Jesus has taught us, the Lord’s Prayer, or the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.”
If you have faith and pray from your heart, there is no way you can do it wrong. You can tell God anything. Just come to our Father like a child. By your faith in Christ you “have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15). You can come to Him with openness, trust and honesty because He loves you as a father loves his child.
2. Compelled to Pray
Just as you have to brush your teeth, as a believer you are compelled to pray. Faith is not a daily chore or a hobby, it’s a relationship with Jesus. Reading your Bible or attending church only on Christmas Eve is not enough. Prayer brings your faith to life; it opens the doors of your heart to let the Spirit build you up. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Prayer is transforming and builds an intimate relationship with God.
It has been a challenge for me to let go of the desire to have control. It has been hard to realize my powerlessness and imperfection. It is a challenge to let go of my ego and lay everything in God’s hands, asking for His will and His way to be done. But the more I read the Bible and pray, the more naturally prayer comes to me as I practice making focus on God a habit, and in that way I become more open to the Holy Spirit.
3. The Habit of Prayer
There are no rules on how long a prayer has to be or where it takes place. How can you remember to pray? By making it a habit. Pray at the same time every day, say the same prayer if you like, and remember to listen. Focus on God and let the Spirit edify you. Better to pray one minute a day than one day a year. Pray without ceasing. “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19,)
“Is it possible to pray all the time? I’m not a monk or a nun,” you say. It is possible, because you’re not really spending your whole life praying. Remember Jesus, giving him a thought. You can pray while driving your car, doing the laundry, brushing your teeth.
Prayer is a conversation between you and your heavenly Father, your close friend. Don’t you have five minutes to call your best friend?
God Always Answers
Does brushing help your teeth? Certainly.
It cleans and whitens them and freshens your breath.
Does prayer help your life? Sure.
Prayer clears out the cluttered closets and rooms of our life, by cleaning up our actions and thoughts. Jesus makes us white as snow by forgiving our sins, and can make the words that pour from our mouths fresh and pure for others to hear.
Does God answer your prayers?
Yes! God always listens and answers. Jesus said in John 15:7: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” God knows what is best for you. He may not answer in the way you expect. He can give you a word, a picture, a feeling of love or peace, and He can use other people to help you. Sometimes it takes time before you realize what God is saying to you because you cannot prove to others what He is saying. and sometimes it is hard to listen to Him because there are many distractions in the world (TV, news, radio, etc.) You may not hear God’s answer immediately, but in time, you may meet a person who helps you, or a new door opens, and you realize God has answered your prayers. One big reason it’s hard to listen to His answers is that His plans often differ from our own. We can’t always know what’s best for ourselves, and the good that we want to do, we don’t do (Romans 7,14-20). It is hard to obey God because we’re sinners, but our faith and the Spirit helps us.
If you believe in Jesus, the Spirit lives within you! You are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). God knows what’s best for you, He loves you, He asks you to trust Him and call His name.
to be a dinghy
resting in the quiet water
waiting at the quay
for the Father to navigate it
in the right direction.
Mariane Kvist Doktor is from Denmark. She lives with her husband and two children and is a deacon, writer, and poet. She writes about writing, life, and her faith in Christ. You can follow her at http://servantwriter.k-doktor.dk and https://www.facebook.com/servantwriter.
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