"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5
"Prayer is the intimate communication between the Heavenly Father, and His child." Don Miller
My father's definition has served me well, and I have never found a better one. Still, defining prayer is no substitute for doing it. Dad didn't stop at the definition, he made the application. Big difference.
Defining prayer until the meaning is sliced and diced as fine as frog's hair closely resembles dissecting a frog. All the parts are there, but there is no life to it. Deceased, lab-worked frogs can be made to jump, by shooting bolts of electricity through them, but they never come back to life.
Dissection never leads to a resurrection. For prayer to come alive, there must be new life breathed into it. Kissing a dead frog won't turn it into a living prince. Falling in love with the idea of prayer, without breathing new life into one's praying leaves prayer on the lab table. It is meant for so much more.
For prayer to come alive, it should not only be studied in the lab, or the library, but breathed on the battlefields and during the crises of life. Effective prayer is not about practiced elocution, or posturing eloquence. It is about the profound exasperation of the warrior in the middle of desperate circumstances, and in the face of a relentless enemy.
Offering up prayer is ALWAYS appropriate. Prayer is not only well-suited for saying grace over a meal, putting a child's fears to rest before bed, or praying prior to a football game. It is not merely reserved for use as invocations or benedictions inserted into calm, predictable, well-ordered worship services. Prayer can bring great comfort to those in need of physical healing. It can also salve the emotional wounds to the soul and spirit that come along the way.
In Paul's case, prayer was a call of remembrance to God, on behalf of a loved one or those who had invested their lives in spiritual warfare, and the battle against evil. It can also be an intense cry for help in the middle of a fire fight, when surrounded by the enemy, and there appears to be no way out.
Paul had a great love and appreciation for those who didn't desert him, but stood by him, when it appeared there was nothing for them to gain from it. His perspective on who his friends really were had probably changed over the years. He had lost a few, but those who remained were worth remembering.
Prayer for Paul was not so much a trip down memory lane, but an appreciation for those who stood with him in the present tense. Prayer is always an appropriate way to remember those who are with us...NOW!
"In view of your participation of the gospel, from the first day until now." v. 5
"Lone Survivor" is the most recent box office smash of 2014. One Hollywood critic is coming under fire for her, dare I say it, "criticism." All together now. Shock face! Sitting with all her friends in the relative safety of the Left Coast, she could see through the fog of war. From her relative safety, she offered her perspective with critical eye, and a discerning ear to the dialogue, during the film's portrayal of the firefight. Apparently, it was not Shakespearean eloquence. It was just one one word bursts, only seconds long, and it involved some cussing. She will live to regret her criticism. Hollywood loves to cuss. But I digress.
Prayers overheard by non-combatants, during a prayer warrior's terrifying fire-fights of life with a relentless enemy, must sound desperate, indeed. Prayer warriors can thank God that The Spirit interprets their prayers, and The Son intercedes for them by name, at the right hand of The Father.
Sometimes a one word burst of prayer can be the most profound statement of faith. One faith-breathed prayer can launch an invasion of Heaven to earth. Any father knows this is true, if he has ever heard his child call out one word, in the middle of the night, "Daddy!" Remember, The Father is always listening. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!