An Honest Question

You know that sense of momentary indecisiveness that rushes over you when someone says “If I ask you a question will you give me an honest answer?”
If you’re like me, you think for just a moment “Why? Would it be better if I didn’t somehow?” Then we decide (I hope!) “Yes, I’ll give you an honest answer”

I want to ask you a question, and hopefully you’ll be honest with your answer – at least to yourself. Here’s the setup.

Several weeks ago I scribbled a couple of notes to myself. Let’s talk about Philippians in March, then Peter through Holy Week, and after that, prayer. I think we need to talk about prayer. So that’s where we’ve been lately. Looking back over vibrance stats for the last several weeks I’ve become even more convinced at least the last part of that observation was accurate. A lot of people stop by here. A LOT! Some of you friends come through the door every day “Hey there! What’s new?” and I love that – it’s like we have these text get-togethers  from our favorite chairs scattered around on this big blue marble.

The post-stats indicate that people aren’t very interested in prayer these days.  You who have vibrant personal prayer relationships or are from churches with active prayer lives seem to be the exception rather than the rule.  This li’l tidbit of information has me thinking… and so I’d like to pose this sober question to you. You don’t have to answer out loud or with keystrokes, but do be honest with yourself; take a few minutes to think it through before nodding to yourself that you’ve arrived at an answer.

Think of your personal walk with God, the role of prayer in your church, and your immediate family.

Ready for the question? Here it is.

 

 

Do I tend to treat prayer as my first resource?

or as my last resort?

 

.

.

Think on that a bit as you go about your business the next couple of days or so, and if the Lord beckons you closer, remember how much He loves you.


5 Replies to “An Honest Question”

  1. Jared

    Truthfully, it’s somewhere in the middle. It is the first at times but not as consistently as it should be. I try to be in continual communion with God throughout the day. But sometimes when problems arise I find that my human nature kicks in and I try to solve the issue through my own powers of logic. It’s a struggle but being intentional about it is key.

  2. Phil

    You’re right on the mark, Jared. And it fluctuates, doesn’t it?
    We want -at least cognitively- for the center to be “first resource” but there are plenty of draws pulling our focus away from the sense of quiet reliance that comes with a first-resource mindset.

  3. Julie

    My apologies, Phil. I have been wrapped up in my daughter’s senior graduation activities and much more. I have read your posts, but inevitably, I am unable to respond with thought because I am interrupted by my two little ones…….just like now when my son climbed up in my lap! lol It must be a mother’s law…..don’t expect to get too involved in anything without interruption!

    Anyway, at the risk of my son being too impatient with me to wait til I get off the computer….I wanted to say that prayer has been on my mind for several weeks…..just not in the keyboard!

    I have been questioning myself about prayer: do I engage in it enough? Do I consider it personable time with God? What can I do to make it more “real”? Do I really expect God to answer?

    Pondering these questions has really helped me re-look at my attitude toward prayer. I know that it is part of a real relationship with God — one side of a two-sided conversation. I know that I can expect Him to answer when I call.

    I will never forget years ago when I had a whole new attitude about prayer, and realized that I could be in a constant state of prayer throughout the day or night, just talkin’ (as we say in Texas) with my Lord in short sentences wherever I am. It kind of put away the formality of bowing the head, closing the eyes, and speaking general repetitive phrases that rhyme. I enjoy the reminder that God is with me throughout my day, and I can just strike up a continual conversation with Him at any time.

    Still….I desire to improve my prayer life. As much as I have spent more and more time with Him over the last few years, I want more. I want to increase the quantity and quality of my prayer time.

    As part of a new concentration, I have added a prayer request tab to my site and am starting to receive requests from other friends in the “Blogdom”. I invite you and your readers to join in. Whenever “two or more” are gathered….
    God’s sure to be there!

    So…that’s where I am in prayer right now. I look forward to continuing the discussion after graduation (next Tuesday — Woo Hoo!!)

    Happy Thursday,

    julie

  4. Jonell

    Phil,

    Do you remember the following quote? “The purpose of a sermon is to comfort the afflicted as well as afflict the comfortable.” Some of us have gotten too comfortable in our prayer routine, and we needed your honest question.

    Thanks for stepping on my toes and reminding me of the importance of prayer – not only on a day by day basis – but a minute by minute basis.

    I’ve printed out all your blog entries on prayer, so I can read through them and do a bit of personal soul searching. Although my prayer life is more consistent and deeper than before, I still want to inprove my prayer life even more.

    Thanks,
    Jonell

  5. Phil

    What wonderful responses, you all. It’s obvious to me that most of that Thinking Blogger award over there in the sidebar belongs to the regulars here… you urge the thinking forward!

    Here’s where my thoughts have taken me most recently, and your thoughts have urged me in this direction. I do remember those words, Jonell, I think they’re derived from one of Vance Havner’s quips. If I come across it I’ll post it here somewhere.

    I like couplets. They’re easy to remember. I’ve come up with a new one:

    Prayer is vitally important, ’tis true.
    But even more important than prayer, is Who.

    Why do we pray? Why do *I* pray?!
    If it’s because I’m in love with the Shepherd of my Soul I’ll be in good stead. Julie, you’re tuned to A440 when you say: It’s part of a real relationship with God… When we talk with Him, listen to Him, love to spend time with Him because we’re in love – with Him – we’re at his feet, right where He wants us. Just ask Mary. Or Martha. They discovered it before dinner one day when Jesus was over to their house.

    Brenda read me something last night from Philip Yancey, “It’s more than a glorified conversation with myself” We smile at that, but I get the idea that’s exactly how many people view prayer.

    Ok, before this becomes longer than my original post I’m going to sign it and actually write the post. I’ve intentionally waited a while before posting anything new so this would sink in. 😀 Looks like it’s done that, for sure.

    Phil—

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