Sometimes I’m assigned the task of teaching God’s Word. First, how cool is that? The Bible tells us that speaking of God or about God requires the Holy Spirit (two such instances of this can be found in John 3:34 and 2 Peter 1:20-21). When we come together and hear about God, it is because the speaker is being filled by the Holy Spirit and the hearers are being made able to hear by the Holy Spirit. It is a special union that is taking place, and this weekend, I’ll get to do a little of that.
But I digress. The point is I was “assigned” a topic for this week. Often when I teach it is much like another description of the Holy Spirit: “the wind blows where it wishes.” Typically, when speaking at church or a camp or somewhere, I’m told, “Yeah, speak about whatever. Just mind the time, please.” I don’t always mind the time, but that is neither here nor there.
This week was different, however, because I was told a topic. Not Scripture or anything. Just a topic. And here is the topic, “Prayer in Leadership.”
And so I’ve been studying prayer. I’ve been reading about prayer. I’ve been asking others about prayer. I’ve been writing about prayer. And you know what I realized just now, with my Bible open and notes out? I haven’t been praying about prayer!
I haven’t been praying much at all, really. All I keep reading is how important prayer is. How it reminds us of what God has done, shows us what God will do, connects us to God, and gives us peace in a helter-skelter world. And with each reminder, I’ll “Amen.” I’ll fist pump. I’ll say, “How cool is that!” But will I pray?
Last week I was on a faraway beach. (And if that comment causes you to stumble into jealousy I apologize.) It was warm–hot even–and sunny. But here’s the deal, I’m not a “lay there and bake” person. I like activity. So I left my beach chair and walked around a bit. Not far into my walk, I happened upon a sand volleyball court, and there upon it, yep, people playing sand volleyball. I love this! I like sports and volleyball and meeting people and actually making my body move (yes, even on the beach).
So I watched. And watched. Man, did it look fun. I inched closer and closer to the court. After one of the games, the players on the court began inviting bystanders into the game, “Wanna jump in?” they said to lookers-on.
And here is the crazy thing. I had been waiting to play for like twenty minutes. I had been hoping to “jump in.” It looked great, exactly what I needed to avoid more dreaded lounging. But, in that moment, when the time came to get in the game, I inexplicably walked away.
Call it pride, call it stupidity, whatever it was, it was the exact same thing I tend to do with prayer. Man, that Elijah, he could pray it up; I wish I could have power for God like him! What a sweet prayer of repentance David just had in Psalms . . . man, if only I could do that!
Well, I can. God allows it and even encourages it.
I need to pray. I want to pray. Prayer is good.
I think I’ll “jump in” to prayer right now, and I hope, maybe, just maybe, you will, too.