My pastor, Andy Lewis, spoke on the topic of prayer two weeks ago from John 17. He first addressed how feelings of guilt and inadequacy usually coincide with talks on prayer; we either feel like we haven’t prayed enough or don’t do a good enough job. It is easy for me to turn to prayer when things are spinning out of control, but my guilt and inadequacy surface because I avoid prayer and don’t see it as necessary when life appears to be going well and I feel in control. Andy suggested that we replace these two words with two new words--ones that don’t reflect a to-do list or expertise mindset but reflect our need for prayer “in the good and the bad.” The words were weakness and dependence, modeled perfectly by Christ’s life on earth.
Andy challenged our congregation to pray for 15 minutes a day for 3 weeks. Guilt started welling up when I heard that, because I knew from past experience that in 2, 3, or 5 days I would fail. When I sat down to pray the first time, I was already thinking “let me get this over with." But the words weakness and dependence came to mind and began to give me a completely different mindset. Instead of seeing God and prayer as the last resort in times of desperate need, weakness reminded me that, spiritually speaking, I am constantly weak--prone to speak harshly to my roommates, return “evil for evil”, and love only those who love me first. Dependence reminded me that God, not me, is in control of everything big and small and that He cares about me trusting everything--my fears and worries about family, ministry and future--to Him. It has been a little over a week. Every time I sit to pray, I have to remind myself of weakness and dependence because right now nothing is “spinning out of control.” But apart from weakness and dependency, I see that I trust in myself and my ability to handle life. So I offer these two words to you, to find yourself in prayer not from guilt or routine, but out of weakness and dependence on God.