Thursday, December 10, 2009

Learning to Pray Better, Ed Welch's Insight

From Ed Welch of the Men of Bay Area Fellowship:

I have always struggled with being a good communicator which even cost me my marriage. I had always learned that communication was the key to a successful relationship and I wanted to have a better relationship with God and the people that I loved, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I knew that my only means of communicating with God was through prayer.

Praying is something I always felt I struggled with. I felt like I didn’t always know the right words to say or my prayers were too short or long, what if I wasn’t doing it correctly or what if he says no to whatever I am praying about.

So I sought out the advice of a friend on how to pray better.

He told me that prayer is how we build a relationship with God. Just like how we build a relationship with other people we love through communication.

He said, “We can learn to pray better from what Jesus taught us. Do you know the Lord’s Prayer?”

I said, “Yes, but I don’t want to say that every time.”

He said, “I know, I don’t want you to either. How does it start?”

“Our Father”, I said.

“That’s right, God is a Father, a Dad. He is not an impersonal force. He is a Dad. So God wants you to talk to him like a child should talk to his Dad.”   He asked me how I wanted my son to talk to me.

“Humbly, Respectfully, Lovingly, Simply”, was my answer.

He responded with, “Jesus said, Watch children and how they interact with a loving father to know how to pray. I know you and your son love each other. Go home and learn from your son.”

So I went home and later I was working on the computer and Reilly, my son, comes running in and says, “Hey Dad, will you play Hot Wheels on the Wii with me.”

I said “Sure!!”  I love my son and want to spend time with him, so I didn’t think twice about it.  

I thought later, God is the same way. He loves us and wants to spend time with us. Prayer is when we get to spend time with God and he changes us and aligns our hearts with his. Just like when we spend time with our children we teach them our morals and values and how we want them to grow.

After we were done playing together, Reilly said, “Thank you Dad, I love you.” That is the best feeling in the world when your child tells you they love you. It always chokes me up and melts my heart.

It made me as a Dad realize how much God as a Father wants to hear that from us.  We should be thankful and grateful that he loves us and wants to spend time with us and let him know that whenever we have the chance through prayer.

Later that night I was getting Reilly ready for bed and he said “Hey Dad, Can I have a Coke? I said, “No! No cokes before bed, babe, it has too much sugar and caffeine.”

I thought about that later and realized that sometimes when we pray to God and ask him for something he will say no as well. But he says no because he loves us and he knows better than we do what is best for us, just like we know what is best for our children.

So I had three great lessons about prayer and God in just one day from my child and I am sure I will have many more to come!

I want to encourage you to spend more time getting to know your Father, your Dad in heaven and let him know how much you love him and how grateful you are that he loves you and let him work on changing your heart through prayer.

Thank you, Ed, for sharing this with us at the "MoB at the Cross" event after the 11:30am service on Sunday, December 6th, 2009, and thank you for letting me share this experience and reflection with the world.

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