Summary: We need to see that the only way to be a happy Christian, who can even make prayer time a fun time, is to forget the bad past, and remember those things that fill our minds with a sense of gratitude.

My earliest childhood memories of being in church are of the rope

that I could ride. The thick rope hung down through the ceiling in the

church entry way. I was so little that when the rope was pulled to ring

the bell in the belfry, I could hang on to it and get a ride as it would

pull me up off the floor, and then set me down again. It is a pleasant

memory in my mind, and my earliest thoughts of being in church are

memories of church being a fun place to be. This memory was

brought back to my mind when I read this statement by Christmas

Evans, the great Welsh preacher. He said, "Prayer is the rope up in

the belfry; we pull it and it rings the bell up in heaven."

For the first time in my life this image linked prayer and fun. I had

never given it a thought that prayer and fun could be compatible

partners. After all, prayer is a solemn and serious business, and that is

why we tell children to be quiet, and stop having fun and clowning

around. Bow you head and close your eyes and knock off anything you

are doing that could be construed as having fun. From this childhood

lesson we move on to a life time of having it drilled into our brain that

prayer is anything but fun. It is a chore; it is a challenge; it is such a

burdensome labor that it is one of the hardest aspects of the Christian

life to develop.

C. S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christians of the 20th century,

describes the feelings of millions of Christians when it comes to


"...Prayer is irksome. And excuse to omit it

is never unwelcome. When it is over, this

casts a feeling of relief and holiday over the

rest of the day. We are reluctant to begin.

We are delighted to finish. While we are at

prayer but not while we are reading a novel

or solving a cross-word puzzle, any trifle is

enough to distract us....

The odd thing is that this reluctance to

pray is not confined to periods of dryness.

When yesterday's prayers are full of comfort

and exaltation, today's will still be felt as, in

some degree, a burden."

We could quote many others who feel the same, and all the

evidence indicates the majority of Christians feel that prayer is a hard

part of the Christian life. Seldom to never does anyone relate prayer

and fun. I must confess I certainly never did until this past week when

I saw, for the first time, that for Paul prayer was fun. It was a time to

be joyful, and a time of happy memories, and thanksgiving to God for

His abundant goodness and grace.

Let me show you what has been before my eyes for years, but which

I never saw until the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see. Now I want to

be the instrument to illumine you on what is clearly revealed in God's

Word, but is also hidden because Satan does not want God's people to

discover that prayer can be fun. Look at the facts. Paul says in verse

4, "I always pray with joy." Then in chapter 4 Paul goes all out to

make it clear that prayer is to be surrounded with positive joyful

feelings, and the negative feelings of life are to be eliminated. Listen

to 4:4-7, "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice! Let

your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious

about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with

thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,

which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your

minds in Christ Jesus." Paul is clearly revealing a life of prayer full of joy and

thanksgiving. Eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive.

Prayer is to be a fun and enjoyable time, and not a time we dread as a

duty we have to be dragged into. Paul lived the way he wrote for

others to live, and he demonstrated these words in his own life. When

he was in the prison there is Philippi, having been attacked, beaten,

flogged, and locked in stocks in a cell, we read this of Paul's attitude in

Acts 16:25, "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing

hymns to God..."

It was one of the most miserable days of his life, yet Paul is enjoying

his prayer time, and he is singing hymns to God. In the midst of pain

he is finding pleasure in prayer. He is singing songs of thanksgiving,

and rejoicing in the Lord with the peace that passes understanding.

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