Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Prayer: Introverted Insights

There is no shortage of “inspirational” stories of the prayer lives of the heroes of the faith. You always hear about people who would get up extra early to pray for hours each day… and how they would devote time to extra prayer on days that promised to be busy.

Stories like that might do more damage than good. They create an impression that one should learn the discipline of being long-winded. Is that really what God desires? Have you ever had one of those friends or acquaintances that can string together a good hour of verbiage without seemly taking a breath, let alone allow anyone else to get a word in? Right.

Perhaps a better idea of the “hours of prayer” would be the example of a conversation between two close, but introverted friends. When they get on a subject that interests them they can discuss at length, but plenty of time spent in silent contemplation is not a problem. They listen to each other and build on each other’s thoughts. Conversation involves more than speaking. We listen. We read the other person. We react. Prayer is conversation. (Unless you are one of those people that just ask for things incessantly. I would be finding a way to appear to be “offline” with those friends were I God.)

Meditating on God’s word, spending time in silence with Him, and thinking of the needs of others that we both (God and us) know about is a good time even if you don’t “pray” the whole hour straight.

After all, Martin Luther himself recommended that we pray frequently but that we keep the prayers short.

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