I came of age in my faith at a time when the popular kids were into something we called Name-it-and-Claim-it! Or Blab-it-and-Grab-it. The theology went like this: If you want a cadillac and big house, you just start declaring, out loud, that God should give you those things. You say it loud enough and long enough, and the Good Lord will have to come through.
If you didn’t get your car, you must not have had enough faith.
This post isn’t meant as a treatise on prayer or on the finer theological points of any specific movement in the church world. I’m just writing to say this: I never got a free car.
But, I still pray.
I believe in prayer the same way I believe in my ability to breathe. I don’t understand it fully. I know that I didn’t create it, but I can control some things about it. And, I know I can’t live without it.
Prayer is both a great mystery and a perfectly normal part of my life. It is a conversation and a relationship.
If you read my novels, you will see that people in my stories pray in various ways and situations. Prayer is not a plot device in the books. It is a character trait.
This week, our nation is concentrating on a specific Day of Prayer. I think this is a good and noble thing. A taking notice of something that should be a part of our every day lives. Because sometimes we should stand on a hill, take a deep breath, and be fully aware of what we are doing.
Have I seen prayer change things? Absolutely. Have I been shocked by miraculous answers? Indeed. Have I been crushed when some of the answers to my prayers were “no”? Of course. Have I prayed some prayers for decades and seen no hint of an answer yet? Yes, to that one, too.
And, yet, I shall keep praying. Every day prayers and hilltop prayers and even some Name-it-and-Claim-it-Prayers if that is what it takes. Because prayer is relationship. And relationships grow. I am a long way from having this specific relationship with the Triune God figured out, but I trust the One to whom I am related.
So, let us pray.