Originally posted by Pastor Mike Fleischmann
These past couple of weeks I’ve been encouraging you to think outside the box about PRAYER. I hope this is helpful, because I promise – I am NOT making this up!
There is a web-based service that will pray your prayers FOR YOU. It’s called “Information Age Prayer” and it is designed for people who are too tired, busy, or forgetful to pray for themselves. For a modest charge, they will do it for you.
- For $3.95 a month they guarantee that “The Lord’s Prayer” will be intoned each day by a computer with your name displayed on the screen (to ensure, no doubt, that you will get the “heavenly credit” for the prayer.)
- Too busy to pray for the sick? Not a problem! For only $9.95 they will pray a “Get-Well Prayer” all month long, for up to five people, again displayed on the screen for the duration of the prayer.
- Keep forgetting to pray for your kids? For a mere $1.99 per child, they will be forgotten no more.
- Or you may want to upgrade to the “Prayer Bundle” which offers “The Lord’s Prayer”, “The Morning Prayer”, a “Prayer for World Peace”, and “Get Well Prayers” for up to five sick people – all for the low, low price of $19.95.
As absurd as all of this seems to me, “Information Age Prayer” is just the logical (and entrepreneurial) end to the shallow idea that prayer is nothing more than SAYING the right WORDS to God. Pay someone else, play a recording, or program your computer – but if you can just get the words spoken, it may not even be necessary to personally show up.
That would be like hiring someone to spend meaningful, quality time with my wife! Since I often feel too busy or too distracted to do it myself, I could pay someone else to attentively listen to her for an hour or so each day, give her some thoughtful feedback, and then pass along summarized notes to me so I can quickly be up-to-date on what’s happening in our relationship. Maybe we could call it Information Age Marriage!
That would be ridiculous, right? Real relationships don’t work like that! The most significant part of a deep relationship is always expressed in the togetherness: Fully present, completely engaged, and unquestionably committed. Sometimes that means talking. Sometimes that means listening. Sometimes that just means being quiet. But always TOGETHER – through the ups and downs, and everything in-between.
Guess what? Prayer is like that too.
God is a PERSON, and building a real RELATIONSHIP with Him means making it a priority to show up and spend time WITH Him that is measured, in the end, not by the words recited but by the TOGETHERNESS experienced.
To paraphrase the wisdom of Woody Allen: 85% of Prayer is just showing up!
More than any other thing, PRAYER means coming to God just as we are, seeing Him in the reality of all that He is, and in the joy of that holy Presence – listening to the things we most need to hear and speaking the words that we most need to say.
“You have shown me the path to life, and you make me glad by being near to me.
Sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful.” (Psalm 16:11, CEV)