We often miss it. We put the focus on us, rather than on God. We think we have to be perfect. More righteous. Our ducks all lined up in a row. If someone else appears to have their prayers consistently answered, we want to know their method. Their secret. Their tips. And we line up to buy their best-selling book on prayer. We assume we can strip down the frivolous and somehow reproduce results.
And we try.
But in our vain attempt to get answers from God, we erroneously misplace attention on ourselves. As if somehow our own righteousness bestows an answer. If we can be holier than thou, our prayers will be heard. But God teaches us that prayer is not meant to be about us. Prayer is to be who we are. We are to be people who pray.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” James 5:13-16
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16b) because prayer works. When we pray, God IS working. God hears his people and acts on our behalf. The point James is making in this text is to encourage us to keep praying. In all circumstances. Good and bad. Because prayer is effective. It is not how we pray, but more importantly, the act of prayer. We need to be intentional prayers’.
What we say. When we say. How we say. This is not the main point here…the point is that we say. Period. That we say prayers to God our heavenly Father and keep in constant communion with Him. Even when He seems distant and far away, unmovable and static. We pray so that we can know God and know Him more. We pray so doubt does not settle in. We openly confess our struggles.
And then we wait. We wait for God to reveal Himself to us as only He can. Nobody wants to pray to a phony, artificial, unreal god. Nobody. We want to feel and relate to a God we know. After all, He knows us. He knows our thoughts and our actions better than we even know ourselves. Nobody knows us as well as God…so we can all stop pretending and be real about who we truly are.
We overestimate our own abilities when we neglect prayer. And we grossly underestimate the power of the Enemy.
How would our prayer lives change if God became the center of our focus? What consumes most of your prayer time?