What If We Prayed First? (Part 1)
How would your life be different this year and beyond if you prayed first? If many of us are honest, prayer is, unfortunately, our last response instead of our first resort. Many of us know we should pray, feel guilty about not praying, and even when we do pray, our prayers are “hail mary” prayers that ask God to bail us out.
Many of us, instead of praying first, have developed unhealthy default responses to when we experience joy, blessing, heartache, betrayal, anger, anxiety, fear, doubt, or other life pressures - which in turn has created unhealthy habits and unhealthy lifestyles. These responses include, but are not limited to: drinking first, smoking first, punching the wall first, cussing first, having a one-night-stand first, manipulating or controlling people first, spending first, binge eating first, binge scrolling first, or inflict pain first. I hope this helps bring awareness so you can identify what your default “firsts" are and in 2020, see it switched to “pray first.”
I sincerely believe you want to pray; However, from 13 years of ministry, I have seen how people:
A) Don’t have a true understanding of what prayer actually is... and...
B) They don’t know how to pray.
Prayer at its simplest level is communicating with God.
It’s saying “thank you” when something turns out the way you wanted. It’s questioning God when a result doesn’t go your way. It's asking for wisdom when you encounter a situation where you have no idea what to do. It’s crying out to him when the pain is too much to bear. It’s all of these and so much more. If we aren’t careful, we can turn prayer into an event, a time of the day, and a separate “thing” we do, when prayer was meant to be what we always do.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.”
I remember in Sunday school when we would have times of prayer. Everybody would give their prayer request. Many of them were “unspoken” (which meant they didn’t really have one, lol). Then, we’d get in a circle and pray. One person would start, then to let the next person know it was their turn, they’d squeeze the hand of the other person. Well, when it was my turn and being a stuttering kid, I had no desire to pray out loud, but even more important, I had no clue what to actually say. This is the norm and to be candid, it can be a little weird learning how to pray.
In the next few blogs, I will share with you what Jesus shared with His disciples to teach them how to pray. Additionally, we will take a look at Jesus' life and see how this declaration and intention to “pray first” was His developed default and SOP for His life and ministry. So, stay tuned!
Also, I taught about this very thing as a message at Lifehouse Newport News. You can check it out on iTunes, Sound Cloud or the Facebook video at your convenience.
Hope this helps!