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Tavern Talk #17: Prayer & the Pen-Ultimate Santa

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? A child’s view of Santa often looks a lot like our prayer life– self-focused and disappointing. We ask for things that we want but don’t get them. Even though what we want may not be what we need, this approach to prayer often defeats our faith. But, prayer is so much more that submitting self-centered requests to the pen-ultimate Santa.

God loves us unconditionally. All God wants from us is that we love him and love each other, but God loves us even when we don’t. God knows every hair on our head and every grain of sand on the planet. God wants nothing but the best for us. God’s naughty list? Well, it’s easy to get moved to the nice list. The grace of Jesus Christ makes it possible.

Though God certainly answers all prayers, why don’t we take full advantage of the miracle of prayer? Prayer allows us to be in constant contact with the creator of the universe. We have as our ever-present companion the God that makes everything possible. Yet, at best, we don’t communicate with God unless our ox is not only in the ditch but taking its last breath. Think of what we are missing.

My New Year’s resolution? Pray more, stress less. And praying more makes stressing less possible. I know that when my prayer life is healthy, my life is better. I see and hear God’s answer to my prayers, which are often, “Is that really what you want?” or “That’s not really what you need.” When we are in community with God our wants and desires change. They become more aligned with God’s purpose for our life and less about our world’s measure of success or faux happiness.

I plan to focus on three things in my prayer life this year: patience, perspective, and people. I’d like to be more patient with everything and everyone, especially God. Perspective? I’d like to see things more like God would want me to see them. People? I’m going to try to spend as much time praying for others as I do myself. And when I say others, I mean everyone, including total strangers and people that I don’t like. These are tall orders, but with God all things are possible.

What’s your New Year’s resolution? Do you have room for another? If so, consider prayer. Then pray for me as I tackle my New Year’s resolution. I’ll do the same for you.


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