Friday, July 8, 2016

Hagerman Bible Study, Prayer Hats Prayer Hearts

I tell the kiddos in Children's Church to make prayer hats and prayer hearts before we pray. It serves to settle their attention, at least sometimes. We form our prayer hands over our heads as a hat pointing to Heaven, then settle them at our hearts, focusing our love on God. As I listened to Bill Hybels message from Luke 11 and Matthew 6, I couldn't help, but think about young ones praying with their hats and hearts and why older ones stop the practice.
When I was very young, I prayed for simple problems to be fixed, often unconcerned with the outcome as my world changed from day to day. I prayed memorized-prayers at night and before meals and turned every difficulty over to God. As I grew older, I looked for results and usually found them, but my prayer life slowly diminished over time until I married and had a son. That's when I learned a new meaning of prayer.
Hybel's message began with the disciples asking the Lord to teach them how to pray. They saw something they wanted in watching Jesus relate to The Father. I too have prayed with people who have a strong, active prayer life. I come away touched, moved to strengthen my own relationship to God.
Hybel gave several reasons why our prayer life might diminish: lack of consistency, clinging to sin, and disillusionment with God. He says that life gets in the way, or maybe we don't want to confront our disobedience, or maybe we've prayed for something we believe God would want, but it hasn't happened. The example he used was of a mother finally accepting Christ after twenty years of prayers from a daughter for it to happen. The daughter almost gave up more than once.
Hybel interspersed the sermon with several ways to keep our prayer-lives from suffering with the highs and lows of day to day. He says to pick a time, a place, pray in private, and be honest with God avoiding vain repetitions.
I'll close here with one of Hybel's statements that took my breath away. "You have no idea how much your conversation means to God. ... Every time we pray it's the same thing. God says, 'Before you go any further, it's great just to hear your voice.'"
Our prayers go out today to the Dallas Police Department and the City of Dallas.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for praying.

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