“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Eph 3:20-21 (NIV)
Several years back I invited a friend to go bass fishing with me. He had never been in my bass boat before.
The bass angler of today has to have several different rods/reels set up for different types of lures and fishing. I think at that time I probably had 4-5 rod/reel combinations set up ready for use in the boat.
Lures…of course you need a supply of the lures that have caught fish. Different weights, different colors and patterns. Plus, doesn’t it make sense to make sure you have a couple exact duplicates of the lures that really catch fish? You don’t want to be without a backup of the best lure in the tackle box, do you?
In addition, when you own a boat, you need life jackets, rope, anchors, flashlights, sunscreen, bug repellent, rain jacket, etc..
It wasn’t long after my friend was in the boat when he made the comment, “Gee, this is just like a mini tackle shop!” He was right, but at the time I thought he didn’t know much about bass fishing.
What about prayer? Is more always better? When I was a small boy I was taught to memorize a couple of prayers. Soon I learned a couple more prayers. Before I went to sleep I had this long list of prayers I would recite before I went to sleep. After awhile I became frustrated on having to recite the long list, and finally quit saying them. I just wanted to drop off to sleep.
Should prayer be formulaic? Prayer is communication with God. It should be spontaneous and affirming. Spontaneity among many men is not one of their gifts. Men have a habit of starting, or ending conversations before they even get started, with “How are you doing”, and the stock answer, “Good, how about yourself?” Think about it…pretty boring. How many times have you heard a woman begin a conversation with another woman with “How are you?” – not many times.
Prayer, as with conversation should be spontaneous, affirming. Check out how Jesus prayed in Matthew 11:25: “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.’ ”
How about Paul’s beautiful, heartfelt prayer in Eph 3:14-21. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Can’t you just feel the spontaneity and affirmation in these prayers? Nothing boring there. Praise and thank God for everything in your life, and for who He is.
Men, next time you meet your fishing buddy, start the conversation with praise on the great fish he caught on the last trip. What do you think will happen after that? The conversation/prayer will continue.
Heavenly Father, how has your day been? As I lay down to sleep at night, I thank you for the day you have given me. Thank you for how you provided for my every need. It always amazes me, and I know it shouldn’t, when you have answered my questions before I even answer it. How did you do that? Thank you lord…”