About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Sundayschoolization Of Prayer


While being raised in 1950's and 1960's style Evangelical Christianity I was taught to say my evening prayers before going to sleep.  That was a good start in being educated in the practice of prayer, but it was only a start.  I needed to move on from my childhood Christian education, or as I call it, the "Sundayschoolization of Scripture," if I ever wanted to mature as an adult Christian. 


I often hear Christians speak of their prayer life in terms of their morning and evening prayers.  It's as if they end their morning prayer by saying, "Good-bye Lord.  See you tonight."  If that is the extent of your prayer life, you have missed the meaning of Biblical prayer. 


In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 the apostle Paul told his readers to continually pray, or as the King James Bible puts it, "pray without ceasing."  According to Paul, there is more to prayer than saying our morning and evening prayers.  You might wonder how we can live in continuous prayer when we are busy with life.  I suggest that if we have to even ask that question, we're missing out on the Holy Spirit's involvement in our lives.      


The briefest reading of the Bible shows us that there are a variety of ways in which we pray.  They range from simple comments or requests to heavy-duty, Spirit-led, intercession, but basic to all prayer is our union with God through His Spirit.  Paul mentioned this in 1 Corinthians 6:17. 


"But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."


Being joined to God through His Holy Spirit is fundamental to being a Christian.  This joining enables us to communicate with Him, whether on our knees or on the job.  The Spirit of the Almighty, who lives in the Christian, provides the opportunity to have an interactive, conversational, moment-by-moment, relationship with God.  This is what I believe Paul had in mind when he encouraged his readers to pray without stopping.    


Right after encouraging his readers to pray without ceasing Paul told them to not quench the Spirit.  I suggest that merely saying morning and evening prayers, without conversing with God during the day, might be considered quenching the Holy Spirit.  


A truly born again of the Spirit Christian, and there is no other kind of Christian, has been joined to God in spirit.  For this reason I have learned to direct my thoughts, not just to myself, but to the Lord, and why?  It is because He and I are joined in a spiritual unity.  We are spiritually inseparable, so why would I want to ignore Him during my day?  Why would I not want to talk to my Saviour as the day progresses?   Sundayschoolizing prayer is a good start for our children in teaching them about prayer, but as an adult, I know there is more to prayer than that.


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