Today’s New Year’s topic is prayer. Once again I’m terribly shortcoming in this area of my life. In my younger adult years, I really struggled accepting that I needed to pray. I figured that God knew everything that I ever would think about praying for way before I ever even knew about it myself. On top of that, I had the attitude that God’s will would win out no matter if I prayed for it to happen or not. So what’s the use of putting in the time to pray if it really had no purpose? Oh and here’s the kicker, I actually became convinced that God was doing the opposite of what I prayed for. People would ask me to pray for them. Of course, I would tell them that I would pray and I even made sure I did (at least once), but in my head I would think, ‘You don’t know what you’re asking.’ Do you remember the Old Testament story in Numbers 22-24 about how Balak, the Moabite King, hired Balaam to curse the Israelite people? Every time he attempted to curse them, he ended up blessing them instead. Well, I felt like my prayer life was similar, only in reverse. When I cried out for God’s blessings on someone, something bad would happen. I was not the one you’d want on your church’s prayer team!
Even in my rebellion, there would be times I would feel guilty for largely abandoning prayer. I knew that Christians were supposed to pray. You can’t read the Bible and escape reading about people who prayed – David, Daniel, Paul, and even Jonah (who was a prime example of a rebel) prayed. Then, of course, there is the Lord’s Prayer. If God acted completely without regard to prayer, why would Jesus give His disciples (and us) an example of how to pray? I finally came to the conclusion that, even if the idea of why people should pray is beyond my comprehension, God wants us to pray and I needed to obey Him in this area.