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                Imagine that one day you were sitting with your family at the Chinese buffet. You were minding your own business when you happened to hear a conversation from the booth behind you. In that booth, there were four people in it. An older couple and a younger couple. You were trying your best to not eavesdrop, but they were talking loud enough that it was not much work to hear what was being said. The younger couple were thinking about getting married and they were seeking out the advice of a couple that they knew had been married a long time.

                The older couple listened to the younger couple talk about how much they were in looooovvvveeee and they could not wait to get married. They talked in the sickly, sweet way that young people talk about each other. You could almost hear the old man’s eyes rolling. The young couple asked the old couple what the secret to a long marriage was. Now, you had forgot about trying to not listen in and were straining your ears to hear. Obviously, this couple had been together forever. You wanted to know the key to a long marriage. This was going to be good. In fact, you just turned around to hear.

                The old man cleared his throat. You elbowed your spouse to get his/her attention. You gave your kids the look that said quit hitting each other with noodles and listen. This old man was about to dispense marital wisdom. In a deep voice, he said,” The key to a long marriage is to quit talking to each other. Communication is way overrated. All you really need to do is just say the exact same thing to each other every day, and it would be best if you did it at the same time each day. Save your words for when there is a real need for them. Not only does she not need to hear about your day, she doesn’t want to. The less you say, the better, that way, when you have something important to say or really need something your words will have that much more meaning.”  The old women chimed in, “It’s true. He is way too busy to hear about my day. He has much more important things to worry about than me.”

                You are shocked. You know this is not right. These people must be joking. You keep listening, waiting for the punch line. It never comes. Soon, the old couple gets up to get another plate of sweet and sour pork. You yell to the young couple to forget what they just said. The key to a happy marriage is communication. Tell each other everything. If the one you looovvvveeee does not care about your day, then he does not looovvveee you. If you are not the most important person in his life, find someone else. If he is too busy to listen, then he is too busy for you. The young couple, although a little shocked at the passion and loudness of your response, are thankful. They quietly leave the restaurant. The old couple comes back. They do not even realize the other couple has left. They finish their dinner in absolute silence.

                Hopefully this has never happened to you. Hopefully people gave you the right advice about communication. Unfortunately, many Christians who might communicate perfectly with important people in their lives, have very little communication with God. One of the great weaknesses of the Christian and the Christian church is the lack of prayer. Maybe you did not realize that prayer was simply communicating with God, but that is exactly what it is.

                We would never suggest to anyone to not worry about talking to their loved ones, but how often do we do this to God? A survey that I read said that we spend somewhere between 2 to 16 minutes in prayer a day. If we use the higher number that means, we spend about 1% of our day in prayer. It would be easy to imagine that some of that 16 minutes are nothing more than rote prayers we use for meal time. Take away the three minutes of meal prayer and most Americans spend about .9% of their day in prayer.

                I know that it is not always fair to throw numbers at people and tell them to straighten up. My goal in this post is not to guilt you into praying more. Guilt might get an immediate response, but it rarely leads to lasting change. I simply share those numbers with you to make you think. Some of you may be thinking that it is none of my business how much you pray. I disagree. As your associate pastor your spiritual life is of the utmost importance to me. Some of you may be thinking that I have no idea how busy you are, and if you knew then giving God 16 minutes is pretty good. I do know how busy you are. You are as busy as the rest of us. Some of you might be thinking that you are ashamed of how little you pray. I am right there with you. I do not pray nearly enough, either. Whatever your thoughts are, the truth is that for most of us, we really do need to improve our prayer life.

                Prayer may be the single most important thing that we do every day. It is through prayer that we learn more about God, learn more about what we should be doing in our life, and have the greatest impact on others. The more time we spend with God, the stronger our Christian walk and witness. The more time we spend with God, the stronger we will become. Prayer is not just something that we simply have to do. It should be something that we desire to do.

                Some of you may be wondering why I am spending time talking about prayer. The answer is simple. I believe in it. I believe in it for my personal time and for my family. I believe so much in it that it is a major part of our Wednesday night Bible study. We are going to take time each Wednesday to pray for each other. I want you to be a part of it. I want you to be someone who not only knows that prayer is important, but also someone who spends more that 1% of their day in it. I want prayer to become so important to us that praying is just a natural part of our day. Because of this, I am going to post three different blogs about prayer. My next post will be some helpful tips on how to pray. After that I will write about how God responds to prayer. I hope that these posts will be beneficial to you. And just so you know, I am praying for Shallow Well and for you.

Marty

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