Over the last week since I wrote my last post about increasing my prayer potency, I must confess that I have been feeling strongly disoriented due to conflicting demands on my time. (Actually, I have been feeling quite disoriented for a while for this reason. However, things really “came to a head” over the course of this last week!) And then to make matters worse, our house suffered a disruption to our internet service which lasted almost the entire work week. As an individual I practically live online! For me, a certain Bible verse might be rewritten “
Man Woman shall not live by bread internet alone!” Matthew 4v4 (although there is no real reason to make a gendered point about this – the actual Greek says (that) “Human beings, or people should not live by bread alone”, rather than referring specifically to male people). So general time disorientation was added to internet disorientation, resulting in one of those weeks where you just don’t know whether you are coming or going, and you feel as if you achieve almost nothing.
Timewise, one of the big issues is that I felt overwhelmed by various pressing prayer needs, without sufficient time to pray for everything. And all these needs are desperately urgent. For many of these issues I like to dedicate serious prayer time every day. To me, many of these issues seem so important that I would prefer not to end the day without dealing with them specifically. However, this would then result in staying up very late which would then disrupt my bodyclock and routine for subsequent days – resulting in, surprise surprise, further disorientation. This is not by any means the first time that this has happened. However, on the whole when it does happen I usually implement a plan to get my schedule back to “normal”. However this time, it has felt as if there are so many issues to deal with, and they are all so vitally important… I just don’t know what to cut back on. Actually, the truth is that I have stubbornly refused to cut back on any area, even though I know that I cannot feasibly fit everything into my day.
In the midst of all this, I have had to face this question in my heart once again – whether my faith is in my God, or whether my faith is in my prayers. This might sound kinda strange, but on another blog post I have published today for my other blog I have already established that I do say many strange things! The flip side of thinking how I do about prayer is that it becomes so easy to mentally cut out the intimacy with God for the sake of just chalking up prayer hours for different needs. That is, it can become so easy to effectively just recite prayers, without genuinely conversing with God, and interacting with Him. Ironically this issue is what drove me back to genuine conversation with God Himself, in utter desperation, just crying out, saying everything that was on my mind, pouring out my heart to Him. But then I think, if I spend time pouring out my heart to God, then that will affect my time to pray for the necessary requests. And yet, this must always be the priority of my prayers – actual intimacy with God. And then when I pray for actual requests, I have to maintain that level of intimacy with God, as if I am talking to a real Person, and listening to Him, engaging with Him, His Spirit, His holy presence, rather than just reciting a list of requests as if I am talking at a wall or something.
Furthermore, I have been wanting to pray about increasing my prayer potency, to increase the number of requests I can cover in my available prayer time. When this prayer has been answered to a sufficient extent, then by God’s grace I will be able to cover more in my prayer time. However, while I am still getting to that place, then the time spent on praying about my prayer potency will be time that I cannot spend praying for other things. This just increases the pressure on my remaining prayer time that I do have available. It is a bit like studying while you are also holding down a job. Ultimately, you hope that your studies will help you to get a better job which means that you will have to work less to earn the same amount of money. This will mean a better work-life balance eventually. However, while you are getting there, the effect of having to study and work at the same time means a very difficult work-life balance. (That said, I know people these days are now talking about a work-life “merge” which to me is such a dreadful idea that I really don’t want to think about it!)
So ultimately yes, I have to present my requests to God. I have to spell out all the different issues, systematically applying different Bible verses. However, I also have to make these prayers from a place of sustained intimacy with God. This is a little irrational, but there is a deep-seated fear in my heart that if I spend all my prayer time pursuing intimacy with God, then there will not be any time left to actually present necessary requests. I know that this is irrational because I know that when I am in a place of intimacy with God, His Spirit will direct me about how to pray for specific requests and how to apply Bible teachings etc so that my prayers are more effective. Big sigh!
So yes, thank God for prayers. However, the power behind prayers is not prayer itself. The power behind prayer is not even faith. The power behind prayer is God Himself – oh yes! 😉
Image of praying woman by Petr Kratochvil at http://www.publicdomainpictures.net