The Pipeline

Let's think about prayer. We have a direct connection to heaven, an avenue to the very throne room of God. Prayer is an awesome thing.... We can talk with our Father in heaven!

A few observations about prayer. First, it doesn't change God, or make him change his mind. He is, after all, God... Meaning that he is omnipotent and all knowing. He orders our steps and his plans cannot be thwarted. Secondly, he tells us to pray, and all throughout the Bible we see example after example of his followers praying. So... Prayer matters because God's word tells us it does. Prayer is important because in some mysterious, wonderful way, God works through the prayers of his people. None of us really knows exactly how God does that, just that he does. Thirdly, the example from Scripture is that Jesus himself depended on prayer. He models for us a dependence upon the Father in order to carry out his perfect will.

You and I are instructed to "devote ourselves to prayer", to "pray without ceasing", and to bring our requests to our Father in heaven. There is no doubt that the Bible teaches men and women who are following the Lord, to seek him in prayer.

So, what is prayer, exactly? Prayer is communicating with God. Prayer is telling God stuff that he already knows. (So let your words be few). It involves bringing our cares before him and unloading! It also involves bringing our joys and successes before him and thanking him! Furthermore, we can pray for others... We can pray for good weather, a better job, healing, courage, grace, strength,... There is no limit to what we bring to the one who tells us to "cast all of our cares on him", and "in everything... Make our requests to him" The more we come to him in prayer, I believe, the better! After all, he is our father and he loves us!

What exactly, does prayer accomplish? I would suggest a few things. First, it helps us with perspective... There is a God in heaven we can go to. I'm thankful for that, and grateful for the way his Spirit is able to calm my anxious heart. We have a father who is for us, loves us, and will never let us go. I need that perspective. Secondly, it helps with comfort... We all get stressed, worried, and "wound up"! It doesn't take much.. And left to myself, it is overwhelming. God seems to remind us through prayer that he is still in control, loves us and our families more than we do, and is able to run the universe while giving us what's best... There is comfort in that. And lastly, it's about relief. I am not very adept at controlling the entire universe, or my kids, or our staff, or even our dog. Prayer reminds me that I'm not supposed to. Some of the most miserable people are that way because things aren't going their way... They can't control their neighbors, the weather, their boss, they get angry and frustrated...easily! The relief from prayer is that we don't have to! Oh, we can keep trying... But I've found, and I hope you will, that God has a plan, it is for our good, it is beyond figuring out, and when I leave my "stuff" in his hands, his way is better.... That's a relief.

One other thing about prayer... It's freeing. I can tell God my secrets, confess to him my sin, my weaknesses, the ugliness in my heart. I find that the more open and honest I am with God, the freer I become. I don't have to try the foolish pursuit of hiding from him, covering stuff up, or making excuses. He knows the "dark corners" and still loves me. How cool is that! When I'm honest with him in prayer, the demons lose their power, and God is pleased. He seems to say "Yeah, I knew that, now keep following me!" That keeps me free and let's me sleep at night.

Prayer... Our direct line to the Father. Use it.
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Pete Nelson