Saturday, November 25, 2006

Prayer as a Talisman

First I would like to state I endorse prayer, and do not discourage it. But sometimes we get off track and treat prayer in a way we ought not to. We may not mean to do that, but it's easy to do.

One way we do this is by treating prayer as if it were a talisman. The second definition of talisman on that link to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary is the one I'm using.
Something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects
It's not just those who "name it and claim it" that use prayer this way.

I've heard well meaning Christians who encourage others to start their day with prayer--this is not a bad thing--but the thinking goes off base when they say that your day will go better if you pray. Conversely, if you do not pray your day will go worse. This, unwittingly, is saying we have power over God and His plans for our day. I have had days where I spent much time in prayer at the start and the day went horribly from my perspective. I have had wonderful days when I have forgotten to start my day in prayer.

Whether or not we have a good day is not the purpose of prayer, nor should it be the focus. We pray because it is commanded. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) We pray because it is a form of communion with our Lord. We pray because it can change us, and is a means God does use. But prayer is not a means to guarantee a good day, or even to increase our chances of having one.

So by all means start your day in prayer. That may mean the second you wake up, or at some point after your head clears. End your day in prayer, as you fall asleep. Pray in between. Do all this, but please don't think your prayer gives you a guarantee of a good day. Your day is in the Lord's hands. Give your day to the Lord, no matter how it turns out. If you are His it will work out for the good.(Romans 8:28-30)

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