prayer

i was inspired by this blog piece my friend Shae wrote over here where she spoke about a meeting she went to where the pastor proclaimed that the prayer the people would pray [to follow Jesus] was the most important prayer they would ever pray.

Shae was not convinced:

I’m not convinced. I’m open to the fact that I may be wrong in my disbelief here, but I’m still not convinced. What is the most powerful prayer you’ll ever pray? I’m not sure. Is there such a thing? I don’t know.

And as i commented on her blog about why i was convinced it was, i realised i also was convinced that it was not.

Huh? Yes, that.

You see, i think there is a whole lot of truth in that pastor’s statement that that prayer is a moment of the most extreme significance in the life of anyone who makes it. The decision and the commitment probably more than the actual prayer itself is what is the most important thing though – the prayer itself is more like a vehicle.

However, at the same time, i think that that moment of “This is the most important prayer you will ever pray.” can also be completely misleading in another way and this is an area where i feel the church has failed big time on many occasions.

In Luke 23, we see Jesus extending this invitation to His disciples:

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

What is key in that verse is the word ‘daily’.

So while this is the most important prayer you will ever pray in your life the first time you pray it [true], it is ALSO the most important prayer you will pray in your life today. And tomorrow.

It is the prayer of invitation to Jesus to once again be King of your life for this day. It rests on the understanding that His command of ‘Love God, love people’ is going to be greater than anything you could come up with on your own and that despite the horrible mess christians have made of the name through the centuries, today there is another chance to redeem it and shine the spotlight back on Him.

The big problem of the church that i alluded to earlier was when we settled for converts over disciples.

People who would step forward and give Jesus a hug instead of those who would choose to live for Him every day. And even die for Him if it became necessary.

Jesus was never interested in short term conversion. His call was only ever for long life discipleship.

And so the most important prayer you will ever pray was the one you prayed that day when you decided to choose to follow Jesus and make a commitment to Him and His kingdom.

But the most important prayer you will ever pray is ALSO the one you pray every morning, consciously or not, when you choose to follow Jesus and His ways over your own.

Will you pray that prayer today?

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