Summary: Herein lies the greatest lesson Jesus ever taught about Prayer!
GOD OF THE HOW MUCH MORE
Illustr. Some years back, during a family dinner, my mum swallowed a fish bone. My younger daughter, who was then three years old, walked over to her grandma and spontaneously prayed, “Lord Jesus, please help grandma’s fishbone…bless it to her body in Jesus name. Amen”. Kids say the darnest thing. Glad that grandma was alright!
Illustr. On another occasion, Ann and I were babysitting two young boys, aged three and five. As we tucked them in bed, we led the boys in prayer and the younger one prayed with great contriteness, “Dear Lord, forgive our bad sins; and give us good ones”! We took the opportunity to gently remind the boys that there are no “good sins”.
Illustr. Kids are not the only ones who make bloopers in prayer. A hilarious blooper was made at a Youth Camp. The Camp Commandant called for a leaders’ prayer meeting, just before the rest of the campers arrived. As the camp speaker, I was delighted to join them in their prayer meeting. They walked through every room and hall in the whole camp site to pray for the Lord’s blessings there, praying things like “Dear Lord, we consecrate the hall for your use” and “we consecrate the rooms for your use” etc. Then we came to the toilet area and one of the young leaders prayed with mindless sincerity, “Dear Lord, we consecrate this toilet for your use”! The group burst out laughing. Someone got to teach us to pray!
There is no better way to learn about prayer than to pray…Prayer is not merely what we say to God but what the Holy Spirit inspires in our hearts to lift up before the throne of God. That is why I often begin my prayers with “Lord, lay upon my heart the things that are upon yours”.
Illustr. In early 1994 while I was on sabbatical in the States, Rev Marty Voltz, the Senior Pastor of North Suburban EFC in Deerfield, Illinois, invited me to share at his Church Board meeting about prayer. At the end of that evening, three of the deacons came up to me with a request: “Pastor Chan, could you teach us to pray?” Together, we represented four different decadal generations. I was then in my mid-thirties, there was one in his forties, the other in his fifties and another in his sixties. They all said most sincerely: “we want to learn to pray”. As there is no better way to learn about prayer than to pray, I invited them to meet me for an hour each week for prayer. At our very first meeting, without any introduction whatsoever, I just entered into prayer. And they followed along. At the end of the hour, when we concluded our prayers, one of them exclaimed to the affirmation of all the others, “I can’t believe it, the hour passed so quickly!”. They learnt the first lesson on prayer. There is a supernatural naturalness to prayer. When we are in the presence of God, we are borne along by the Holy Spirit in our prayers. Prayer is not merely what we say to God but what the Holy Spirit inspires in our hearts to lift up before the throne of God. That is why I often begin my prayers with “Lord, lay upon my heart the things that are upon yours”.