We recently enjoyed a great holiday in Lanzarote and on our outbound journey the flight became a little bit bumpy. Why does turbulence always occur when the meal or drinks are being served?? So I begin to pray. Now I’ve flown many times and so I’m a very comfortable flyer, however if I’m honest, I still pray sometimes when the flight gets turbulent!
So I’m looking our of the window, praying, and asking God to keep us safe, give the pilot wisdom, and for a safe landing (we were an hour from landing at our destination) and I felt God say this ‘have you any idea how many prayers I receive from people when they’re flying?!’ I suddenly had this image of thousands of prayers zinging up from aeroplanes all over the world every hour of the day. Wow!
It made me think of all the other times when we pray:
- For our football team to win (particularly relevant to me as a Leicester City fan!)
- For our children to get in a preferred school
- For exam results and interviews
- For our boss to be gentle in the appraisal
- For the results of medical checks
- For our family members as they use other means of transport or travel abroad
- When there is a national disaster or terrorist attack – ‘Pray For France’ is a recent example
- For a celebrity who experiences cancer or a personal disaster.
Why Wait For A Crisis To Pray?
I was recently asked by a dear atheist friend to pray for a family member who had a serious and life threatening health issue. This took me by surprise as I thought the point of being an atheist was they didn’t believe in God. I replied to the request by saying ‘so you want me to pray to the God who you don’t believe in?!’ It wasn’t intended to be a harsh or critical comment but was meant lightheartedly and my friend certainly saw the funny side of his request..
Recent figures suggest that:
- 20 million adults in the UK pray
- 13 million pray at least once a month
- 9 million pray every day
- One in three believe God will answer their prayers
Why is it that so many of us don’t have a faith relationship with God and yet we’re ready to pray to Him when we face sudden challenges, trials and problems?
I would suggest there are several reasons:
- Our culture is post Christian but many of us still believe in God or a supreme being
- We are created with a sense of the existence of God
- Our desperation and anxiety causes us to cry out to God
I’ve been a Christian for over four decades now and my relationship with God is strong because of what I’ve discovered when I pray. Talking to God was always intended to be more than simply a cry for help in emergencies.
I’ve seen some incredible miracles of healing, provision, closed doors open, jobs, insight, debt release, homes….the list goes on. I think what I discovered more than anything else as I’ve prayed is that my God holds ‘my times in His hands’ (Psalm 31:15) and that he cares about me. I believe that both the significant and even the seemingly insignificant matters in my personal world are important to Him. When I’ve prayed I’ve discovered:
- Amazing peace, calm & assurance (when I’ve been anxious & fearful)
- A place of shelter & protection from the storm (when I’m feeling under attack)
- Strength & renewed energy (when I’ve been weary and ready to throw in the towel)
- Wisdom and guidance (when I haven’t known what to do next)
- Faith (when mine is waning)
- Love and acceptance (when I’m struggling to cope with my sin and inadequacies)
- Hope (when I’m at my lowest ebb)
- Unexpected joy (when I’ve been feeling down)
- Self control (when I’ve wanted to retaliate)
- Strategies (when facing challenging people & situations)
- Perspective (when I’ve lost sight of how big God is and how small my problems are)
- Vision (when I’m planning for the future)
Why Don’t You Pray When There Isn’t A Problem?
In fact, you don’t have to call it prayer (sounds so religious!) – why don’t you simply talk to God like you would talk to any mother, father or close friend. You know what – you might discover the God who you always ‘knew’ existed.
Jesus said these words to all those who didn’t know God:
““This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” (John 3:16-18 MSG)
Through prayer – you can discover Him for yourself.
There is a great website for people just like you who would love to give praying a try or maybe also for those who’ve lost their way in prayer.
It contains a simple seven day guide to help you get started in prayer.
Why not give it a go? You may accidentally discover a relationship with the God to whom you have been praying to for all these years….
I’ve written this post which helps you to Kickstart Your Prayer Life – it’s well worth a look.